MAC: Mines and Communities

South Asia Update (India and Bangladesh)

Published by MAC on 2006-09-22

South Asia Update (India and Bangladesh)

22nd September 2006

India/Bangladesh Update

Failures to address public concerns have revived anger at a prospective uranium processing plant in Andhra Pradesh.

Proposals by Tata to turn land, formerly leased for a steel plant, into a special economic zone are greeted with alarm by local fisherpeople and environmentalists.

Two Bangladesh authors examine what might have gone on behind the scenes between this same industrial powerhouse and the government of Bangladesh in brokering the company's "deal of the century" - which for the moment is moribund.

The long-awaited hearing by the Indian Supreme Court's Cental Empowered Committee on Vedanta'sapplication to mine Orissa's sacred Nyamgiri Hills, and commercially operate its alumina refinery at Lanjigarh, has been postoned yet again. It is now expected at the end of September.

Meanwhile, Indian newspapers have pubished in full the authoritative report by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), which we summarised earlier on this site. It confirms that the WII is utterly opposed to handing over this exceptional biosphere reserve to Vedanta or the Orissa Mining Corporation.

Declares the WII:

"The threats posed by the proposed project to this important ecosystem will lead to irreversible changes in the ecological characteristics of the area...Th[e] cost benefit value should not only take into account the material benefits of bauxite ore mining over a period of 26 years but...the perpetuity of the resources and ecosystem services that would be provided by these forest in the future.

" Compromising long term economic return therefore cannot be an alternative for short term gains. "

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