Orissa Govt opposes Rahul's visit to Lanjigarh

The visit to Lanjigarh was aimed at keeping tribals backward by denying them the benefits of industrialisation, senior BJD leader and Agriculture minister Damodar Rout told a public meeting at Lanjigarh town, located in the foothills of the Niyamgiri hills in Kalahandi district where Vedanta is planning to mine bauxite to feed its refinery.

"Some people want to keep tribals, particularly Dongoria and Kutia Kandhas, backward forever. Therefore, they oppose industrialisation," Rout said on Gandhi's proposed visit on August 26. Without naming Gandhi, he cautioned the local people to be aware of 'outsiders' who opposed industrialisation.

"Your own people may be inefficient. But they will not ditch you. An outsider can easily betray trust," he said. "Rahul's visit to Lanjigarh is politically motivated," Finance minister and BJD's Vice-President Prafulla Ghadai told reporters. "We will oppose Rahul Gandhi's visit to Lanjigarh as he has done nothing for the uplift of the tribals," BJD's Kalahandi district president and former minister, Balabhadra Majhi told PTI.

"He had visited Lanjigarh in 2008 and made several promises. The UPA government is doing politics over the Vedanta episode," Majhi said. Gandhi, during his visit to Lanjigarh in March 2008 had said that he was personally opposed to mining at the Niyamgiri hills, which has unique biodiversity.

Meanwhile, the students wing of Congress today demonstrated before Raj Bhavan demanding shifting of Vedanta and all its projects from the state. They submitted a memorandum to governor M C Bhandare urging him to intervene into the 'anti-tribal' actions of the state government.

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