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And We Call This Progress?

Business As Usual: Vedanta Mine Plans Threaten India's Poorest. An ecosystem destroyed. A way of life gone forever. Private profit and public pain.

Arundhati Roy

 by The Guardian

Bauxite mountains are part of a very delicate ecosystem. The mining
of bauxite and the process by which it is turned into aluminum is among
the most toxic, environmentally devastating processes imaginable.

If Vedanta is allowed to go ahead with its plans for mining the Niyamgiri Hills in Orissa, in India's
east, for bauxite it will lead to the devastation of a whole ecosystem
and the destruction of not just the Dongria Kondh tribal community, but
eventually all those whose livelihoods depend on that ecosystem.

The
battle lines are very clearly drawn. On the one hand the Indian
government with all its might, its judiciary and its police has aligned
itself with the mining cartel of several corporations, led from the
front by Vedanta. On the other side are India's poorest forest-dwelling people who stand to be displaced from their homes and lose their livelihoods and their way of life.

In some ways it's an ancient battle and a familiar one,
whose story has been played out over centuries in every continent
across the world and has had a more or less similar outcome, ie the
corporations always win. This is commonly known as "progress".

However,
today, in the era of climate change, surely it's time to realise that
forests, river systems, mountain ranges and people who know how to live
in ecologically sustainable ways, are worth more than all the bauxite
in the world. Vedanta ought to be stopped in its tracks. Now.
Immediately. Before any more damage is done.


© 2020 The Guardian
Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy was born in 1959 in Shillong, India. She studied architecture in New Delhi, where she now lives, and has worked as a film designer, actor, and screenplay writer in India. Her most recent book, a novel, is: "The Ministry of Utmost Happiness." Her other books include: "Listening to Grasshoppers: Fields Notes on Democracy," "The God of Small Things," and "The End of Imagination."

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