New Delhi: The Supreme Court will on Thursday pronounce its verdict on whether Vedanta should be allowed to mine aluminium in the Niyamgiri Hills in Kalahandi district of Odisha or not.
In 2008, the Supreme Court gave phase 2 clearance to Vedanta to mine at Niyamgiri but after Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's rally in Kalahandi, the Ministry of Environment and Forests cancelled the clearance in August 2010.
The project was cancelled after a report highlighted various environmental threats it projected and the endangering of the Niyamgiri's Dongria Kondh tribe. Vedanta and the Odisha Mining Co-operation, who are the original lessee of the mines, had then moved the Supreme Court challenging the cancellation.
The Niyamgiri case is seen as a litmus test for the Forest Rights Act - a flagship law passed by the UPA which makes taking consent of tribes for big development projects mandatory. The verdict also holds significance because it was after Rahul Gandhi created pressure on the Ministry of Environment and Forests that the project was cancelled.