This book addresses the issue of Orissa’s current industrial programme, based on mining projects, metal factories
and big dams, with particular reference to the aluminium industry and the impact on tribal people. Among the main arguments
and sensational data on aluminium are the following:-
Bauxite mining on the summits of Orissa’s highest mountains
causes irreversible damage to Orissa’s environment. An increase will lead to permanent erosion of Orissa’s famed
fertility, which is the physical manifestation of its “mineral wealth”.
The bauxite and alumina is being sold
off far too cheaply, at a price fixed by the mining companies, and behind them, foreign Governments, which are desparate for
a cheap and constant supply of bauxite/alumina.
A principal but hidden reason for this demand is aluminium’s strategic
importance to the arms industry, which is central to the economies of the US, Britain, and most of the other wealthy nations.
Statistics of aluminium going into arms and “aerospace” have been masked for many years, but aluminium still forms
a substantial proportion of every aircraft and missile, and the technology of several major bombs is still based on its explosive
power. It is also important as rocket and missile fuel, and areas of outer space are extensively polluted with nano-particles
of aluminium rocket fuel waste.
The industry promises a new era of prosperity for Orissa, but based on its history elsewhere,
these promises are exceedingly misleading: the profit is for the corporate elite, with spin-offs for businessmen and politicians
who support the industry, and the greater protion of it will leave India. Those threatened with displacement and doing labouring
work are likely to face extreme levels of hardship, from destruction of their land-based lifestyle to inadequate compensation
for work accidents.
The issue of displacement, from an anthropological perspective involves the permanent destruction of
tribal communities’ social structure, which is based on working their own land and building their own homes. Its egalitarian