MAC: Mines and Communities

Vedanta update

Published by MAC on 2007-01-25

Vedanta update

25th January 2007

One of the worst examples of constitutional betrayal in recent Indian history was the 2001 handover of state-owned BALCO (Bharat Aluminium company) to Sterlite Industries (now majority owned by Vedanta Resources plc).

Not only did this action cede tribal peoples' territory in Chhattisgarh to a private company in flat contravention of article V of the constitution. It also threatened the livelihoods of thousands of workers and their familes, especially those employed at the Korba complex.

Now a major official report claims that most of the protection theoretically provided to the labour force at the time of the handover have been wilfully violated by Anil Agarwal's UK-based company.

Meanwhile Vedanta's executive chairman is gaining increasing acceptance, both inside and outside India, for his grandiose eponymous international university - despite its obvious self-serving purpose and the fact that it will uproot yet more people from their land.

It's a savage irony that - even as poor children have been denied basic schooling facilities by the company in Chhattisgarh- the proposed university will allegedly cater primarily for upper-class, upper-caste students.

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