Prafulla Samantara bags prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize

Bhubaneswar: Social activist from Odisha Prafulla Samanatra won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for the massive anti-Vedanta campaign that halted Vedanta’s mining operation at Niyamgiri hills in the state.

Prafulla Samantara was on Monday announced as the Asia recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize for championing the cause of  Dongria Kondh tribals and safeguarding their land and culture.

Samantara, the sixth Indian to win the prize, also called the ‘Green Nobel’, had led a historic 12-year legal battle that affirmed the indigenous Dongria Kondh’s land rights and protected the Niyamgiri Hills in Odisha from a massive, open-pit aluminum ore mine to be set up by Vedanta Resources.

The previous five Indians prize-winners are Medha Patkar, M.C. Mehta, Rashida Bi and Champa Devi Shukla (jointly) and Ramesh Aggarwal.

The prize honours grassroots environmental heroes from the world’s six inhabited regions — Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands & Island Nations, North America, and South and Central America.