MAC: Mines and Communities

VAL flouted norms with impunity: Outfit

Published by MAC on 2009-08-03
Source: Express News Service (2009-07-28)

SAMBALPUR: After tribal land transfer scam involving Vedanta Aluminum Limited (VAL) rocked the Assembly yesterday, the Anchalika Paribesh Surakshya Samiti (APSS) has accused VAL of committing more such irregularities at its project site in Jharsuguda in scant regard to the law of the land.

Substantiating its allegations with informations sought under Right to Information (RTI) Act, the APSS has threatened to launch indefinite relay hunger strike in front of the collectorate from August 5 demanding a CBI probe.

In a petition to Jharsuguda Collector Dhananjaya Das, the APSS said railway project of the VAL has been undertaken before notification on land acquisition. Questioning how a company named Siddhartha Construction could identify the land for the railway project and begin work on it before land acquisition, they have demanded a thorough probe into the entire process.

Maintaining that the construction company is in the frontline of land grabbing with support of district administration, the APSS has said the land transfer continues despite the shady deals coming to light.

Citing information obtained under RTI Act, APSS claimed that the plan for captive township of VAL situated in village Sunarimunda in Jharsuguda town unit no. 5 has not yet been approved by Jharsuguda Regional Improvement Trust (JRIT).

The APSS has further said after the information under RTI Act was sought on July 20, an advertisement seeking expression of interest from contractors for development of external infrastructure was published in an English daily to mislead people.

Alleging that even village forest land has been grabbed by VAL, the APSS claimed that Gate No. II of VAL in Purna village is located on Purna village forest land besides Katikela village forest adjoining VAL ash pond. Pointing out that major settlement plot No. 941 measuring 1.19 acre has been recorded as ‘gochar' [grazing land], the outfit expressed surprise that even though IDCO has applied for alienation of the land, the captive power plant of VAL is located over the land.

The APSS said the irregularities of VAL was just tip of the iceberg and a CBI probe would unearth more such irregularities. AGM (Communication), VAL, Sasanka Pattnaik said he needs some time to react to the charges of irregularities.

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