New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a petition by state government-owned Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC), challenging the decision of 12 gram sabhas to refuse permission to mine bauxite in the Niyamgiri hills.

A bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi refused to entertain the petition and said the corporation could approach appropriate forums against the decision of the gram sabhas.

The village bodies had rejected the proposal of a joint venture between OMC and Vedanta Ltd on grounds that the hills were sacred to the tribals of the region.

As per the Supreme Court’s April 2013 ruling, the joint venture’s bauxite mining project in the Niyamgiri hills had to get clearance from the gram sabhas, which it failed to do as 12 village bodies unanimously voted against the proposal.

This forced Vedanta to put its plans to source bauxite for its alumina refinery project in the Niyamgiri region on hold. OMC is now seeking to mine in the region independently.

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