Updates on opposition to Jindal and BHPBilliton in IndiaPublished by MAC on 2005-10-19
Rapidly emerging as the most aggressive and rapacious of Indian minerals companies, the Jindal Group is not only stampeding ahead with plans for bauxite mining, and an alumina refinery /smelter in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The company is also accused of numerous violations in its manoeuvres to construct a coal-fired power plant in Chhattisgarh.
Last week, Jindal's aluminium plans in Andhra came under renewed attack, with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) threatening to "lay siege" to the local administration. In July national organisations offered vociferous support to the Indigenous Girijan community, which claims that its rights and livelihoods would be jeoparidsed by mining of the eastern ghats (hills) near Andhra's second biggest city, Vizag.
BHPBilliton has also put forward a proposal to construct a refinery, drawing on a vast amount (300 million tonnes) of bauxite reserves in the same Indigenous area.
This despite the fact that - in neighbouring Orissa - the world's most profitable minerals company is now holding out a saffron-coloured carrot to NGOS that consent to join its party.
CPI(M) wants MoU with Jindal Group cancelled
October 19 2005
Fears over destruction of environment
The MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) was signed without consulting anyone, the party's central committee member and Khammam MLA T. Veerabhadram says. He announced that the CPI (M) activists would lay a siege to the Collectorate here on October 19. CITU State president Ch. Narsinga Rao and seeks imposition of health emergency in view of many people dying of fevers,Tribals facing hardships due to shortage of medicine, doctors and paramedical staff
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Sunday asked the State Government to cancel the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with the Jindal Group for setting up an alumina refinery and smelter plant in Visakhapatnam.
"The MoU was signed unilaterally without consulting anyone,'' the CPI(M) central committee member and Khammam MLA T. Veerabhadram told a meeting here.
Addressing the CPI (M) district office-bearers and party activists, he said the refinery and smelter plant proposed with an investment of Rs.9,000 crores would destroy the environment and displace the tribals from the agency area.
He announced that the CPI (M) activists would lay a siege to the District Collectorate here on October 19 to press for the scrapping of the MoU.
Mr. Veerabhadram said that though the agreement was signed some four months ago, the details of the terms and conditions are yet to be made public.
He also criticised Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy for his failure to sanction house-sites and houses under various schemes for the rural and urban poor.
Expressing concern over the outbreak of fevers in the agency area, the CITU State president Ch. Narsinga Rao said many tribals were dying of various fevers and dengue and demanded imposition of health emergency.
He said the tribals were being forced to face inexplicable hardship due to shortage of medicines, doctors and paramedical staff.
Mr. Rao alleged that fishermen were being marginalised due to various projects like Gangavaram port and Special Economic Zone and asked the authorities to distribute them one bag of rice and five kg of red gram per family.
Among others, CPI(M) city president K. Loknadham and senior leaders M.V.S. Sarma, V.S. Padmanabha Raju, A. Balakrishna and B. Ganga Rao spoke.
AP keen on bauxite mining in Vizag
The Hindu Business Line
October 17 2005
Visakhapatnam - In spite of the mounting opposition to bauxite mining in the agency (tribal) area of Visakhapatnam district and the MoU signed by the State Government with the Jindal group for setting up a smelter here, the Government seems to be keen on expediting the project.
According to the District Collector, Mr Praveen Prakash, steps would be taken expeditiously to get the project going. At a review meeting with officials during the weekend, he issued instructions to officials to that 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 Orissa.
By utilising the bauxite reserves in Araku and Anantagiri mandals in the district, employment opportunities could be generated, he said.
He said the Government would take up mining of bauxite in Beesupuram, Galikonda, Eguvasobha, Diguvasobha and Chinthamgandi areas. A joint survey by revenue, forest and mining departments would be conducted for the purpose. Officials should interact with the local people and assure them that mining in the area would not affect them in anyway and on the other hand would provide them job opportunities, he explained.
Mr Prakash led a study team to the Nalco plant at Damanjodi on Friday. The Executive Director of Nalco, Mr K.R. Routray, explained to the team the production processes and the requisite eco protection measures.
The Andhra Pradesh Girijana Sangham, however, is continuing with its agitation against the project and a "chalo collectorate" is planned later this week to register its protest.
Officials asked to act fast on setting up aluminium plant
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.
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.
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.
BHP Billiton in funding pact with Prasad Eye Institute
The Business Standard
October 5 2005
BHP Billiton has launched its Development Foundation for India at ceremony in Bhubaneswar, India and announced its first funding agreement with the LV Prasad Eye Institute.
The Foundation will contribute to India's education, health, rural development and indigenous development, across all its states.
MS Ramachandran, chairman of the BHP Billiton India Development Foundation said that the Foundation's principal role was to select partners for long term community development projects particularly in regions where BHP Billiton is actively engaged in exploration and development activity.
"We want the Foundation's work to be a clear demonstration of our commitment to ensuring India's broader communities will benefit from the success of our mining activities in the country", he said.
Don Caroll, president of BHP Billiton India, added that the Foundation, which has an initial budget of Rs 13 crore over three years, had been established to invest in India's human and social capabilities, in line with BHP Billiton commitment to social responsibility and sustainability.
"The Foundation will create a valuable legacy that transcends mining activities and contributes to social development at local and state level", he said.
The Foundation is modelled on other foundations established by BHP Billiton around the world, including the Escondida Foundation in Chile and the Mozal Community Development Trust in Mozambique.
BHP Billiton has won several international awards for its commitment to the community.
The Foundation will work primarily through India NGOs that are assessed as having the requisite probity, proven delivery of outcomes for the poor and the capacity for long term partnerships with BHP Billiton.
The LV Prasad Eye Institute has been assessed as meeting these criteria and is the first NGO to sign an agreement with the Foundation.
The Institute's charter aims at providing 50 per cent of its surgical services free of cost to the economically disadvantaged.
The institute is now building a major eye institute, The Bhubaneswar Eye Institute.
This will have three major centres: a clinical center, which will encompass all patients care activities, an education centre, providing training to range of eye professional and a research centre.
The Foundation will provide approximately Rs 2.2 crore to support the provision of a high quality surgical facility in the Bhubaneswar Eye Hospital as well as the costs of fitting out two outpatient rooms and providing free outpatient care for the poor for 12 months.
Attending the ceremony, chairman of the trustees of the LV Prasad Eye Institute, Dr Gullapalli N Rao said, "This significant support from BHP Billiton is a great example of corporate social responsibility, making world class eye care accessible to some of the most advantaged people of India. We are very pleased to have secured this collaboration with an internationally reputed corporation".
Novedades sobre la oposición a Jindal y BHPBilliton en India
Emergida rápidamente como la más agresiva y rapaz de las compañías mineras de India, el Grupo Jindal no solamente empuja los planes de explotación de bauxita y refinación/fundición de alúmina en el estado de Andrha Pradesh. La compañía es acusada también de numerosas violaciones a los derechos humanos, al maniobrar para construir una planta de energía alimentada por carbón en Chhattisgarh.
La semana pasada, los planes de alumino de Jindal en Andhra se vieron nuevamente atacados por el Partido Comunista de India (Marxista). En julio, organizaciones nacionales ofrecieron ruidoso apoyo a las comunidades indígenas de Girijan, que reclaman que sus derechos y modo de vida se verán amenazados por la minería en las sierras del este, cerca de la segunda ciudad más importante de Andhra, Vizag.
BHPBilliton también ha lanzado otra propuesta de construir una refinería, a partir de una enerome reserva (300 millones de toneladas) de bauxita en la misma región indígena.
Esto a pesar del hecho que, en la vecina Orissa, la compañía minera más rentable del mundo mantiene una zanahoria delante de las ONG que consienten unirse al juego.