MAC: Mines and Communities

Officials asked to act fast on setting up aluminium plant

Published by MAC on 2005-10-17

Officials asked to act fast on setting up aluminium plant

The Hindu

October 17 2005

'Follow pollution control measures put in place by Damanjodi plant'

Steps for setting up an aluminium plant in Visakhapatnam district will be taken up expeditiously, according to district Collector Praveen Prakash.

At a review meeting with officials during the weekend, Mr. Praveen Prakash issued instruction to officials to this effect.

He advised them to follow the environmental protection and pollution control measures adopted by the National Aluminium Company (NALCO) at its Damanjodi plant in neighbouring Orissa.

Joint survey

By establishing the plant utilising the bauxite reserves in Araku and Anantagiri mandals in the district, employment opportunities could be generated, he pointed out.

In this context, he clarified that the Government would take up mining of bauxite ore in Beesupuram, Galikonda, Eguvasobha, Diguvasobha and Chinthamgandi areas.

A joint survey by Revenue, Forest and Mining Development departments would be conducted for the purpose.

Officials should interact with local people and assure them that mining would not affect them in anyway and on the other hand provide them job opportunities, he explained.

Study team

Mr. Prakash led a study team to the Damanjodi plant on Friday. Other members of the team were ITDA Project Officer Siddharth Jain, Paderu Sub-Collector Sudarshana Reddy, Divisional Forest Officer K. Suryanarayana, Environmental Pollution Control Board's environmental engineer K. Sriramamurthy and representative of Jindal Group Lalith Kumar.

Executive Director of NALCO K.R. Routray explained to the team about bauxite mining and aluminium production processes.

The plant provided a metal case for the conveyor belt to control pollution, took up greenery on the areas where mining was complete, and provided jobs for adivasis in the mines and the plant, he added.

BHPBilliton is trying, once again, to muscle in on "civil society" in Orissa - after failing last year to earn credibility from environmentalists, Indigenous communities and NGOs for its "corporate community leadership programme. (CCLP)

The programme rendered it a near-death blow when the company let slip thatit had been negotiating for mineral leases with the state government, even while purportedly engaged in open, transparent, discussions with regional and national groups.

BHPBilliton's re-vamp of the CCLP is a laudable sounding "Development Foundation", based on its in Chile and Mozambique.

However, one condition of being accepted as an NGO into the company's warm embrace is "a capacity for long term relationships with BHPBilliton"

Clearly this would require an NGO to endorse, not only specific projects, but also the incorporation of community development goals into BHPBilliton's own designs.

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