Violation of Human Rights, Farmers Arrestedat Public Hearing on Proposed Alumina Refinery by JindalPublished by MAC on 2006-11-28
Violation of Human Rights, Farmers Arrestedat Public Hearing on Proposed Alumina Refinery by Jindal South West, in Visakhapatnam district, Andhra Pradesh, India
28th November 2006
An Environmental Public Hearing for JSW alumina plant was held in VUDA children's theatre at Visakhapatnam on 28/11/06. The affected farmers from the villages of Sabbavaram Mandal were prevented from entering the city and were stopped at Vepagunta village. The hall in which the public hearing was held was very small and overcrowded and was filled by the hired goons of the Jindal company, police and government employees.
The affected people could not enter the public hearing venue and were prevented by police and more than 50 poor farmers were arrested. Non-Political and non-party people were prevented from participating in the public hearing.
We are also shocked at the mockery of the public hearing process and demand that this public hearing be treated null and void on the following grounds:
1. The Information provided to the affected farmers and concerned people was very sketchy and insufficient and was not provided in the local language.
2. The public hearing was held in Visakhapatnam city instead of Sabbavarm mandal headquarters if not at Vangali panchayat. Most of the affected farmers who are busy with agricultural operations could not attend the public hearing as it was too as far as 25 kms from their village.
3. Those who tried to participate were brutally stopped by the police barricades and prevented from participating.
4. There are several technical, environmental and social flaws in the REIA which needs to be examined. The public hearing was held without obtaining the clearances from the Ministry of Environment and Forests although it has reserve forests within the proposed site.
The proposed refinery is connected to the Bauxite extraction by the same company in the heart of the Scheduled Tribal Area in the hills of Visakhapatnam district. The tribal people have been opposing the mining project where they are facing similar threats and harassment by the company hired goons and police. The noose around the farmers and the tribal people is being tightened by the State and corporate excesses.