MAC: Mines and Communities

Indigenous communities get Supreme Court backing

Published by MAC on 2005-01-11

After nearly two years vigorous campaigning, indigenous communities hit by Vedanta's illegal and damaging activities in Orissa, finally get backing from India's Supreme Court. However, yet another British-based company now seems poised to encroach on the same area.

Vedanta's Rs 4,000 cr Orissa project in green trouble

Dilip Bisoi, Financial Express

11th January 2005

Bhubaneswar - An environment committee set up by the Supreme Court has objected to Vedanta Aluminium's Rs 4,000-crore project in Orissa. The committee has observed that project and mining activity in Niyamgiri area of Kalahandi district will have an adverse impact on the environment.

It has recommended appropriate action against the company for violating the Forest Conservation Act and suggested that an alternative bauxite mine be allotted to the project.

The panel comprising SC Sharma and SK Chadha submitted its report to the apex court on Monday. It had conducted a field inspection following petitions from several opposition Congress MLAs led by Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra.

Vedanta Aluminium, a wholly-owned subsidiary of London-based Vedanta Resources headed by Anil Agarwal, is putting up a one million tonne refinery at Langigarh in Kalahandi district. The company has entered into an agreement with the state-owned Orissa Mining Corp to form a JV to explore and exploit Niyamgiri mines allotted to it.

Pointing out that the company had violated forest laws, the committee said that construction of the refinery has been taken up on forest land and without clearance under Forest (Conservation) Act.

The committee has also found fault with the ministry of environment and forests in according clearances to the project. Such clearance of the mining site should either precede or be linked with clearance of the refinery site, it said.

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