David and Goliath Victory in India

September 10, 2010

Dear friends,

The tribal people of the Niyamgiri Hills in eastern India have won a David and Goliath battle protecting their ancestral lands from a London-based mining giant!

Dongria Kondh protesting Vedanta mining project
We are the Dongria
(PHOTO: Survival International)

Authorities in Delhi have denied permission for Vedanta Resources to mine bauxite from hills in Orissa State where the Dongria Kondh live as subsistence farmers.

"The Dongria Kondh tribal community holds the Niyamgiri Hills sacred," says Mark Chernaik, ELAW Staff Scientist.

"If the project were approved, it would have meant an irreversible loss of the rich biodiversity of the Niyamgari hills and a centuries-old way of life."

Mark Chernaik has worked closely with Ritwick Dutta to review three Environmental Impact Assessments for the proposed mine and challenge Vedanta's shortsighted project.

Ritwick writes: "The Vedanta case is surely a triumph of tribal people over corporate abuse. For the moment, we can all celebrate!"

Ritwick has represented petitioners before the Central Empowered Committee, the Supreme Court, the High Court and presently the National Environment Appellate Authority.

Read more about this thrilling victory in The Independent:

The Indian tribe that took on a mining giant – and won

We will keep you posted on news about this inspiring work!

Many thanks for your support!


Bern Johnson
Executive Director
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide