MAC: Mines and Communities

BALCO rejects land grab allegations

Published by MAC on 2005-06-24

BALCO rejects land grab allegations

Friday June 24 2005


RAIPUR: Aluminium major BALCO said on Thursday that a Chhattisgarh government order taking back over 1,000 acres of allegedly encroached land was "unwarranted" and would hit the state's industrial future.

Reacting to Agriculture and Forest Minister Nankiram Kanwar's order on Wednesday, BALCO's (Bharat Aluminium Company Ltd) Deepak Pachpore said: "It is all baseless and the minister has been unnecessarily targeting us."

Kanwar had ordered that the land be taken back saying the company had felled trees and grabbed it for its current Rs.50 billion expansion and modernisation plans.

"We believe in work and technology culture not in any foul methods. Sterlite, which controls 51 percent stake in BALCO, is one of the most reputed industrial groups of the world," Pachpore told IANS.

Kanwar, who set up a high-powered committee last week to probe the alleged land encroachment by BALCO's plant at Korba, 165 km north of here, lost his portfolio in a cabinet reshuffle within 24 hours.

In the reshuffle, Kanwar got the forest department along with agriculture.

Soon after taking charge, he recommended stern action against BALCO for land grab following a government inquiry report on the matter.

"BALCO has to free the land. I want to take the battle with BALCO to a logical end without consuming too much time," Kanwar said.

As part of its expansion, the company is setting up 288 smelter pots with Chinese technology with an investment of over Rs.50 billion to raise its annual production from 100,000 tonnes to 350,000 tonnes per annum.

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