Page last updated at 03:14 GMT, Thursday, 31 July 2008 04:14 UK

Application to demolish St Paul's

St Paul's Cathedral
ActionAid says the mountain is as integral as the cathedral is to London

An aid agency has lodged an application to demolish St Paul's Cathedral in protest at plans by a British firm to mine a mountain in India.

ActionAid put in the application to the City of London requesting the "total demolition" of the London landmark.

The move aims to raise awareness of plans by Vedanta Resources PLC to mine bauxite from the Niyamgiri mountain.

The mountain in eastern India is sacred to the Kondh tribe, who believe it is home to the god Niyam Raja.

ActionAid believes open-cast mining at the site in the state of Orissa will destroy local eco-systems, cause deforestation and adversely affect water sources.

It has decided to raise the issue to coincide with the company's meeting with its shareholders.

'Treasured mountain'

Campaigner Brendan O'Donnell said: "Just as Londoners wouldn't tolerate the demolition of their Cathedral to make a quick buck, so the Kondh people won't allow their treasured mountain and forests to be destroyed.

"Vedanta's investors should be appalled that their money is backing the desecration of a sacred Indian site and the destruction of forests on which people rely for food, clean water and a living."

The Kondh tribe is 8,000-strong in India.

Speaking to the BBC's Damian Grammaticas at the refinery and mining site in the state of Orissa, Dr Mukesh Kumar, chief operating officer of Vedanta Aluminium Ltd, said: "I don't think any plant can have better environmental standards than we have.

"Our approach is first protect the environment, ensure safety, ensure development of the local area, ensure participation of the community.

"These are our basic four principles, and if we are not able to ensure them then we are not interested in any project."


At the Vedanta factory

Tribe takes on global mining firm
17 Jul 08 |  South Asia

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