#India – Appeal to observe Anti Posco Black day on 22nd JUNE 2013


 

We remember people who sacrificed their self interests for the benefit our freedom in the 66th year of Indian Independence. Sadly, during the one and a half decades of the post-globalisation era in India, our leaders are sacrificing the very purpose of the sacrifices of those who fought for freedom. India’s land, rivers, hills, seas and forests are being sold to global corporates, displacing millions of farmers, dalits, adivasis and fisher folk today, devastating this country’s environment.

The project planned by the multinational giant POSCO represents the largest  Foreign Direct Investment of this country (FDI) during the post-globalised India. The project will destroy the lives of thousands of farmers, dalits, women, children, fisher people and indigenous people.

The people’s movement against POSCO started soon after the signing of the MOU between POSCO and Odisha Government. Since then over hundred bombs have been thrown at the resisting villagers by the pro-POSCO goons and around 100 villagers have been shot by the Odisha police. Our leaders like MR. Abhay Sahoo and four others are in the jail. More than 1500 villagers and activists are facing over 250 fabricated false charges. Many villagers can not come out of their villages even for their hospitalization, due to the threat of arrests. The struggle against POSCO led by POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti is still resisting this invasion by a global capitalist giant in partnership with the Central and State Governments.

 

We believe that if the anti-POSCO movement is suppressed due to the interests of the corporations, it will affect many similar struggles in Odisha as well as rest of India. Since this SEZ project is the largest FDI investment in this country, it has to be treated as a symbol of struggle against globalization and India’s freedom.

 

Therefore, we appeal to all freedom lovers in India and all over the world to mark your resistance by responding on the day of the completion of the 8th year of signing of the MOU between POSCO and the Government, on June 22, 2013. We appeal to all activists, organizations, people’s movements and concerned individuals against globalization to express their strong protest against this corporate invasion of our lands. We appeal to groups and people’s movements working on fisher people, dalits, women, children and indigenous people to organize solidarity actions on June 22nd, since it is the lives of these very forces which are at stake. On this historical event, PPSS calls for the following actions all over India and abroad to initiate the following actions:

 

1.     Protests in your region demanding the ouster of POSCO and removal of all fabricated false cases against activists and villagers.

 

2.     Public meetings in your region condemning the threat of displacement and environmental destruction by POSCO.

 

3.     Expressions through, songs, posters, paintings, theatre, print media and internet actions against POSCO.

 

4.     Mobilise concerned sections to be part of the event in Odisha.

 

5.     Write letters to the Prime Minister of India and the Chief Minister of Odisha.

 

6.     Document the events in Odisha and elsewhere through written media as well as video for future campaigns, or

 

7.     Any other symbolic or imaginative actions you may chose.

 

We welcome all those who wish to participate in the mass rally and demonstrations at Patnahat village of Jagatsighpur district  in Odisha  on 22nd June 2013 and express their support to this historic struggle.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

 

 

MoU between OMC, Vedanta on Niyamgiri mining- questioned


Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi  May 16, 2013 Last Updated at 21:55 IST

An MoU between an Odisha Mining Corporation and Vedanta has come in for questioning from the Tribal Affairs Ministry, which has contended that it is against the letter and spirit of the Constitution and its provisions. 

“I think having MoU with Vedanta itself was wrong because it goes against the letter and spirit of both Article 244(1) and provisions of Schedule V (of the Constitution),” Tribal Affairs Minister Kishore Chandra Deo told reporters.

The MoU between Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) and Vedanta was signed in 2003 for mining in the tribal-dominated Niyamgiri forest areas of the state.

The Minister questioned the very basis of formation of the state-owned mining corporations as quite often states sell shares in these firms and the partner firms, mostly belonging to private sector, benefit as a result of their association with such firms.

“This is against the provisions of the constitution,” he said, adding disinvesting shares of such a company to a firm, not owned by tribals, generally results in surreptitiously subverting and undermining the sanctity of the Constitution and safeguards guaranteed by it.

The Minister claimed mining did not improve financial or living conditions of the people in these areas as development here was never inclusive.

“Development doesn’t mean mining ore and exporting to China. Making a few people or a few companies affluent at the expense of the marginalised people, is not development,” he said, adding people were the owners of natural wealth while states and the Centre were only custodians.

“It’s not for one government to plunder natural wealth. State owning doesn’t mean that state is empowered to do whatever it wants to do. In any case they can’t flagrantly and blatantly violate the norms and go ahead with the MoUs,” Deo said.

 

Odisha – (MOEF) Roy Paul Committee Report Reveals More Illegalities, Exposes POSCO’s Destructive Potential


POSCO

 

At a time when our people are facing bombs, lathis and violence in order to defend their basic rights to their homes, lands and livelihoods, yet another official committee has confirmed that the POSCO project is being pushed through without a thought for the welfare of the people of the area or of this country.

 

On October 22nd 2012, the second official review committee to be constituted on the POSCO project – constituted in May 2012  (this time, on the directions of the National Green Tribunal on March 31, 2012) submitted its report to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). This report has not yet been made public but has been obtained by an Right to Information (RTI) request.

 

The POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) wishes to bring the following key points from the report to the attention of the public in this regard:

 

·        The Odisha government and POSCO are lying when they say they have decided to reduce the project size to 2700 acres and “leave out” most of the private and forest lands in the villages of Dhinkia and Govindpur. Till date their plant layout lists the plant’s substation, water supply facilities, main office for phase I, two gates, etc. in the land that they supposedly do not want. The committee has asked POSCO to submit a revised layout and also unambiguously state that this will not affect their expansion plans.

 

·        The Committee notes that – eight years after signing an MoU to start the project – the government and POSCO have yet to carry out the following basic studies:

 

‣      Assessing how much water is actually available in the area and whether this area can support such a huge plant;

 

‣      Impacts on fisheries, which support more than 20,000 people in the area;

 

‣      A plan for management of oil spills;

 

‣      Impact of dredging of material for the private port;

 

‣      Impact on marine ecology and wildlife from the plant;

 

‣      Critical long term study for captive port

 

·        The Committee also says that therefore the project needs to submit a fresh Environment Impact Assessment report for its revised layout. Hence, the entire process effectively has to start again.

 

·        The Committee has also clearly said that expansion of any project in the area (not just POSCO) should be considered only after a carrying capacity study.

 

In short, as per the findings of the Roy Paul committee, this project has never been studied properly and could – in other words – pose a serious risk to the entire area. The committee hence confirms the finding of the NGT that “a project of this magnitude particularly in partnership with a foreign country has been dealt with casually, without there being any comprehensive scientific data regarding the possible environmental impacts. No meticulous scientific study was made on each and every aspect of the matter leaving lingering and threatening environmental and ecological doubts un-answered.”

 

It is a different matter that the Roy Paul Committee has incorrectly limited its own mandate – looking only at “conditions” of the 2011 environment clearance rather than a full review as mandated in their Terms of Reference (ToR) as well as directions of the NGT. It also tries to claim that the revised EIA can be made and the process go ahead without a public hearing or a new environmental clearance – but this is simply illegal. None of this attempt to shield POSCO and their former colleagues changes the facts that the Committee reveals.

 

Three of our people have given up their lives to stop this illegal and unjust project. What the Committee report confirms is that no one – including the government that is unleashing brute force against us – has any idea how many more lives will be lost, and how much more damage caused, if this project indeed comes up. It is time that the State and Central government stopped acting on behalf of POSCO as its agent and instead take the serious social, human rights environmental and legal issues on board to reject the project in its entirety.

 

 

 

Prashant Paikaray

 

Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti.

 

Mobile no – 09437571547

 

E- mail- prashantpaikaray@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

#India- Odisha has jeopardized agriculture to favour industry: CAG draft report , Finally its official


Author(s): T N Vijayalakshmi, downtoearth
Date: Jan 24, 2013

State went on MoU signing spree without considering food security and livelihood of people

Projects such as the POSCO steel plant in Jagatsinghpur district and Vedanta's bauxite mining proposal in Niyamgiri hills in Kalahandi have been stiffly opposed by local people, including affected tribals and forest dwellers (Photo by Sayantan Bera)  Projects such as the POSCO steel plant in Jagatsinghpur district and Vedanta’s bauxite mining proposal in Niyamgiri hills in Kalahandi have been stiffly opposed by local people, including affected tribals and forest dwellers (Photo by Sayantan Bera)

The Odisha government has committed the state’s natural resources like land and water to industries without bearing in mind agricultural needs, says a draft report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

CAG has sought views of the state government before finalising its performance audit report—Commitment made in memorandums of understanding (MoUs) for setting up of industries in the state and acquisition/allotment of land thereof—that has slammed the Naveen Patnaik government.

Land, water and minerals being finite and scarce resources, its need-based allotment to different promoters of industries is required to be made keeping in mind the requirement in future, says the report. “The natural resources are not factors of production (only) for industrial growth but also for agriculture production on which the food security of the country rests, and these also had impact on sustainability of environment and sustenance of livelihood of citizen,” the draft copy, which is in possession of Down To Earth, says.

No assessment of availability of natural resources

Auditors have gone through scores of MoUs, minutes of government records, recorded views of departments and existing policies before observing that the state government has not made attempts to assess availability of natural resources prior to allowing industrial projects.

As many as 93 MoUs were signed by the state government with private promoters between 2001 and 2012 for setting up industries.
By March 2012, 35,793.498 acres of land (one acre equals 0.4 ha), which includes 25,012.345 acres of acquired private land and 10,781.153 of government land, was allotted to 54 companies under MoUs, 34 of which relate to the steel sector.

“But no policy or guidelines for assessing the need as well as other inputs like land, water and minerals, attracting entrepreneurs to the state through open competitive bidding, signing of MoUs with promoter companies for setting up industries in the state was formulated,” the draft performance report says.

CAG has invoked clause 9.11 of Industry Policy Resolution 2007, saying “all efforts should be made to avoid (allocation of) double cropped agricultural land and minimize R&R requirement.”

It was noticed that in 49 MoUs, commitment for providing 59,333.601 acres of land was made without any exercise to scrutinise the land category (whether agriculture, irrigated or double cropped)and no consultations were held with other departments like Revenue and Disaster Management, Water Resource, Agriculture department and district collectors. “This is indicative of the fact that the department has signed MoUs with promoter of industries and made commitments without assessing the actual availability of land, water and minerals,” the report says.

On minerals, the report says “it was noticed from minutes of 12 High Level Clearance Authority meeting held on January 27, 2010 that as against availability of 1,805.81 tonnes of total bauxite in the state, the department in different MoUs had already committed for supplying 74.61 tonnes of bauxite per annum for which the entire bauxite reserve of the state would be exhausted in next 24 years.”

Industry calls the shots

CAG has observed that industry decides where and how much land it needs.

Checks of MoUs and concerned files revealed that promoters themselves have selected the sites and applied for acquisition subject to their suitability. The Industrial Investment Promotion Corporation of Odisha Limited (IPICOL) has assessed the requirement and based on appraisal by it, Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) has filed requisition with concerned collector for acquisition of land identified by the company,” the draft report says.

It goes on to say that no exercise was conducted by government to ascertain the availability of government land to ensure barest minimum acquisition of agriculture land.

Besides, the government has not selected sites suitable for establishment of steel and power projects, mining projects, other industries considering the availability of water, mineral, government and non-agricultural land, and approachability.
“As a result, sites for setting up of industries were identified by promoter companies and got regularized by applying through IPICOL and IDCO.”

Allotted land mortgaged

The CAG report also points out other irregularities. In one instance, administrative approval for acquisition of 1,745 acres of private land was given with the approval of minister for steel and mines prior to signing of MoUs with the promoters. “It is highly irregular and is indicative of extension of undue favour to private promoters,” the auditors observed.
What’s more, it has been found that permission has been given by IDCO to promoters for mortgage of allotted land and in eight out of 19 test-checked cases.

“The promoters concerned have mortgaged the allotted land in different banks to avail loans though no such commitment was made in MoUs. Revenue department has not even authorized IDCO to give such permission for creation of mortgage by the promoters,” the draft report says.

Ironically, IDCO does not have the information about the quantum of loan availed by promoters by mortgaging land resources. “Accordance of mortgage was highly irregular and the department has practically no monitoring on the issue,” the auditors said.

No estimation of benefits from industrialisation

No record could be provided to audit by IPICOL and IDCO and steel and mines department to show that due diligence has been exercised to examine the proposal of promoters and benefits that would accrue to the state and that would be extended to the particular project proponent before signing of MoU.

“We also found that neither any competitive bidding was made for selection of parties for setting up of any particular type of industry or infrastructure projects nor even any Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued. We noticed that states like West Bengal, Gujarat and Karnataka are inviting RFP for setting up of industries in the State,” said G Chandraprakash, deputy accountant general, in a letter addressed to state steel and mines secretary.

Chandraprakash wrote to the state, seeking its views for incorporation in the final performance audit report.

 

Cancel bauxite mining leases in Vizag: House panel


HYDERABAD, January 9, 2013

Special Correspondent, The Hindu Jan 9,2013

‘MoUs signed with Emirate of Ras al Khaimah and Jindal South West Holdings not in interest of State’

The Petitions Committee of the Legislative Assembly has recommended scrapping of the memorandum of understanding entered into by the State government for bauxite mining in Visakhapatnam district with the Emirate of Ras al Khaimah (AnRAK) and Jindal South West Holdings Limited.

The committee headed by Deputy Speaker Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka held elaborate discussions on the lapses in the MoUs on Tuesday.

The members were unanimous in seeking cancellation of the MoUs claiming that they were not in the interest of the State and would immensely benefit the two firms.

MoUs signed by YSR

The then Congress government headed by late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy had entered into the MoUs for establishment of value added alumina plant and an industry with an estimated Rs. 9,000 crore. Accordingly, 1,212 hectares of forestland, predominantly in the agency areas, was alienated for prospecting and mining.

Discussions held

The issue had come under scrutiny ever since Union Minister Kishore Chandra Deo addressed a letter to the Centre recommending cancellation of the MoUs as they would affect the interests of tribals. The committee held discussions on the issue in response to a petition filed by former legislator Ch. Ramesh through Telugu Desam MLA A. Revanth Reddy.

Speaking to media after the meeting, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) legislators — P. Keshav and R. Chandrasekhar Reddy — alleged that there were several shortcomings in the MoUs. “While the mining project will yield profits to the tune of Rs. 1,200 a tonne, the MoU stipulated that the APMDC would be paid Rs. 170 a tonne.

“Giving the volume of aluminium present, the agreement will translate into huge profits for the two companies,” Mr. Keshav said.

 

Putin’s India Visit: A Review


Rajorshi Roy, http://www.idsa.in/
January 4, 2013

President Putin paid an official visit to India on 24 December 2012 as part of the 13th Annual India-Russia summit. This was his first visit to New Delhi after assuming the office of President for the third time. President Putin held detailed discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and also met President Pranab Mukherjee. Sushma Swaraj, the leader of the Opposition, and Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson of UPA, called on the Russian President. But there was no customary media briefing by the External Affairs Ministry prior to the summit nor was there any joint press conference of the two Heads of States. Putin’s official engagement itself was an extremely short one and got over in less than a day.

Historically, India has shared a multidimensional and strong partnership with the Soviet Union and then with Russia. The year 2012 marks 65 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations. It is Putin who is often referred to as the main architect of the current strategic dialogue because it was under his aegis that the “Declaration of Strategic Partnership between India and the Russian Federation” was signed in the year 2000. It is against this backdrop that one needs to analyze whether Putin’s visit added any real substance and value to the strategic partnership.

Despite the low media attention, 10 bilateral documents were signed during Putin’s visit. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish an Indo-Russia Joint Investment Fund, worth US$ 2 billion, will encourage direct investment and acquisition of assets in critical infrastructural, manufacturing and hydrocarbon extraction sectors. The Joint Venture (JV) to set up a modern industrial facility for the manufacture of Russian helicopters in India will promote the development of a high technology based domestic aerospace industry. The joint collaboration to manufacture pharmaceuticals in Russia along with the IT agreement for developing software, systems integration and emergency response systems can help in producing niche products. The pilot project to assess the feasibility of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) in areas such as disaster management, telephony and long distance communications can pave the way for India to have a useful alternative for the American Global Positioning System (GPS). The two contracts for the supply of 71 Mi-17 helicopters and 42 Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jets worth US$ 3.5 to 4 billion were signed will give a boost to India-Russia defence cooperation.

While there are many areas of cooperation between the two countries, yet some irritants continue to trouble the relationship. It is important to highlight some of these, which need to be addressed in order to further cement bilateral ties.

Sistema remains a major irritant and the possibility of Russia seeking recourse to international arbitration, under the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPA), cannot be ruled out. The fact that Russia’s titanium Joint Venture in Orissa has also run into rough weather has not helped matters. In a way, Russia has linked Sistema to India’s request for tax concessions in the overvalued and underperforming Imperial Energy Company, which was bought by ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL) in one of its biggest foreign acquisitions. Moreover, the imposition of the Nuclear Liability Law on Units 3 and 4 of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant project remains a sticking point. Russia is also peeved at the suggestion that Roerich’s estate near Bangalore be converted into a waste treatment plant.

India’s weapons diversification policy also remains a matter of concern for Russia since India accounts for close to 30 per cent of Russian revenues from arms exports.1 In certain quarters in the Russian establishment, this issue is looked at through the broader framework of India’s perceived drift towards the West. From India’s perspective, the repeated delay in the delivery of the aircraft carrier Vikramaditya and reports of technical problems affecting the leased Akula nuclear submarine are issues of concern.

Bilateral trade continues to be the most unsatisfactory part of the Indo-Russian partnership, with total trade standing at less than $ 10 billion. While there has been a 30 per cent increase in trade this year as compared to the previous year,2 the true economic potential remains untapped. In terms of sheer numbers, India’s share in Russia’s total trade is a mere 1.11 per cent, while Russia as India’s trade partner in terms of exports ranks 36th and in terms of imports at 27th.3 In fact, most of the thorny issues in the bilateral partnership remain far from being resolved.

While these irritants need to be addressed, there is a positive side to India-Russia bilateral engagement. Russia’s importance for India lies in the fact that the bilateral relationship has withstood the test of time, with the two countries sharing similar views on most matters of international concern. Russia is an independent and powerful country, a member of the P5 and in many ways can be considered as a pole in international diplomacy. Moreover, it holds the key for India in different multilateral forums such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and in the effort to activate the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), which can solve the problems of ‘connectivity and accessibility’ with the Eurasian region.

In the defence sector, joint development of equipment not only gives India access to high technology but also modernises its armed forces. The fact that no other country is willing to provide such technology, without attaching any pre-conditions, cannot be overlooked.

At a time when there exists fundamental differences between Russia and the West (lack of missile defence guarantees from the US, EU’s Third Energy Package and NATO expansion Eastwards) and apprehensions about China’s growing assertiveness intensify, India as an emerging and powerful country remains one of Russia’s most reliable partners on the global stage.

In terms of opportunities, there is a need to focus on strengthening economic ties. Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has opened up substantial economic opportunities for India to explore. Lowering of tariffs and import barriers, greater market accessibility and a general improvement in the investment climate bode well for bilateral trade and can provide an impetus to achieve the trade target of $ 20 billion by 2015. It can also facilitate the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between India and the Customs Union comprising of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

India and Russia can explore common synergies in co-developing more weapons platforms. Sharing of both costs and efficient practices and interaction of best scientific and research minds can augment their military capabilities. This may also be seen within the context of Russia’s own massive military modernisation programme, wherein it has earmarked close to $ 700 billion for modernising up to 70 per cent of its armed forces, involving cutting edge military technology, by 2020.4

There are a lot of opportunities in the Science and Technology (S&T) sector for the two countries to take advantage of. The need is to attempt diffusion of high technology from the military into the civilian sphere in order to build national capabilities. This is where R&D and innovation projects come into the picture. Russia still has some of the world’s best scientific minds and research facilities. The opening of an Indo-Russian Science & Technology Centre, one each in Delhi-NCR and Moscow, to tap this potential is a step in the right direction.

For energy deficient India, the opportunities of cooperation with resource rich Russia is immense. Nuclear energy is a key element of the India-Russia partnership. Moreover, with West Asia in a state of perpetual turmoil, India can look to diversify its energy imports by exploring hydrocarbon investment opportunities in Russia’s Far East, Arctic and Siberian regions. The opening up of the Arctic and advances in technology indicates that Russia’s Arctic energy reserves will be exploited in the near future. Russia’s offer of a stake in the Madagan 2 oil-field along with GAIL’s 20 year, 2.5 million annual tonnes-of LNG deal with Gazprom5 can just be the beginning of a more robust India-Russia energy cooperation. There is also a need for greater people to people interaction, especially between the younger generation who can be made aware of each other’s histories and national capabilities.

On the foreign policy front, both India and Russia share apprehensions about China’s assertiveness, despite significantly improving their bilateral ties with it. Together, they can attempt to engage China in SCO and Russia-India-China trilateral meetings. Moreover, current developments in Afghanistan remain a matter of concern for both India and Russia. They can work together to achieve the similar objective of bringing stability and prosperity to that country. This is where SCO offers a common platform for all the regional countries to work on Afghanistan in the post 2014 American withdrawal scenario. India and Russia can also explore common synergies in their endeavour to create a multi-polar world order and reforming global governance structures.

Putin’s visit to India does show some mixed results. While an effort was made to strengthen the strategic partnership, some difficult issues have proved to be a stumbling block. Nevertheless, Manmohan Singh’s statement about ‘Indo-Russian partnership having a special place in the hearts and minds of Indians’ and his ‘commitment to further strengthen ties’ do hold promise for the future. India and Russia cannot afford to dilute their bilateral relations and they both require each other. Therefore, they need to synergise cooperation in the economic and security arenas in particular. In the present context, the challenge is to reinvigorate the current state of the partnership. As Russian Ambassador Kadakin aptly put it ‘India is Russia’s closest friend’.6 The reverse also holds true.

  1. 1.“Russia and USA to fight for India’s defense billions”, Pravda, July 25, 2012,http://english.pravda.ru/world/asia/25-07-2012/121734-russia_usa_india-0/, Accessed on January 1, 2013.
  2. 2.“Prime Minister’s statement to the media at the 13th India-Russia Annual Summit”, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, December 24, 2012, http://www.mea.gov.in/in-focus-article.htm?20990/Prime+Ministers+stateme…, Accessed on January 1, 2013.
  3. 3.“India, Russia strengthen ties via $4 bn defence deals”, The Economic Times, December 25, 2012,http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-12-25/news/35999304_1_…, Accessed on December 28, 2012.
  4. 4.“Russia to prioritize modern weaponry in new arms acquisition program”, Rianovosti, March 3, 2011,http://en.rian.ru/military_news/20110311/162956743.html, Accessed on January 1, 2013.
  5. 5.“Gazprom and GAIL enter into long-term LNG purchase and sale contract”, Gazprom, October 1, 2012,http://www.gazprom.com/press/news/2012/october/article145120/, Accessed on January 1, 2013.
  6. 6.“We have no other friend closer than India: Kadakin”, Russia and India Report, December 25, 2012,http://indrus.in/articles/2012/12/25/we_have_no_other_friend_closer_than… Accessed on January 1, 2013.

 

Govt drops land acquisition plan for #Vedanta steel project #goodnews


BS Reporter / Kolkata/ Bhubaneswar Dec 27, 2012, 00:07 IST

The Odisha government has approved a proposal for withdrawal of land acquisition process for Sterlite Iron and Steel Company, a Vedanta group firm, which proposed to set up of a 5 million tonne steel plant in Keonjhar district.

The government has directed the revenue department to take appropriate action in this regard. “The government, after careful consideration, has been pleased to accept the land surrender proposal. You are therefore, requested to take action as per rules/act in vogue,” the state steel and mines department wrote to the deputy revenue secretary.

The decision of not to go ahead with the land acquisition process for the project was taken in October this year, following state water department’s objection to the sale of land.

The water resource department said, since more than 90 per cent of the 1,872 acre area required for the project came under the category of irrigated farm land, it should not be given to an industrial unit.

The villages, where notification for land acquisition was issued, included Danardanpur, Gopinathpur, Narasingpur, Singraisuan, Tikarpada, Mahadeijoda and Kadagarh in Keonjhar district. Out of the total area to be acquired, 1,805 acres were privately held.

The state government has offered an alternative site to the company in Sundergarh district. However, the company has been non-commital over establishment of the project.

Sterlite Iron and Steel Company had signed a MoU with the state government for the project in 2004. The proposed five million tonne per annum steel plant was to be set up at a cost of Rs 12,500 crore. However, the project hardly showed any sign of progress since.

Later, Vedanta wanted the project to be implemented by its group firm Sesa Goaand wrote to the state government to replace Sterlite Iron and Steel Company with Sesa Goa as the promoter in the MoU. It had also changed the scope of the project expressing its intention to set up a 1.5 million tonne steel plant initially instead of 5 million tonne mentioned in the MoU.

The company was also in the process of scouting for a steel company as an equity partner for the project who could take charge of the steel making operation of the plant.

Now, the withdrawal of the land acquisition process for the steel project comes as another blow to the industrial group which is reeling under the closure of alumina refinery of Vedanta Aluminium at Lanjigarh in the state for want of bauxite.

The state government is yet to come out with a solution on supplying bauxite to the plant. Though the state government had committed to provide bauxite from Niyamgiri mines, it could do not do so because of non-availability of clearances from union ministry of environment and forest (MoEF).

 

London listed mining company #Vedanta caught before the Mountain of Law


by Samarendra Das on Monday, 10 December 2012 at 21:12 ·

The activities of  Vedanta Resources, a London listed FTSE-100  mining company outside the UK have had, and continue to have, adverse impacts on the ability of Indigenous Peoples to enjoy the rights recognised in the Convention and other relevant international human rights instruments, particularly the UN Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples (endorsed by the UK in 2007). The Dongira’s rights as an Indigenous People are being violated. Any future project affecting Niyamgiri would be subject by the Lenders’ Requirement to apply the Equator Principles and the IFC performance standards. This includes PF7, which states that the Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) of Indigenous Peoples must be obtained. The Niyamgiri Hills form a mountainous area in the Kalahandi and Rayagada districts of Orissa, in the eastern part of India. They are populated by the indigenous community of the Dongria Kond, Majhi Konds, and Jharnias who consider the Hills sacred, as their daily lives have depended on them for several centuries. In December 2008, the Indian government, more particularly its Ministry of Environment and Forests, approved a project to mine bauxite in the Niyamgiri Hills. 

 

This project was proposed and will be conducted by a joint venture corporation, the South-West Orissa Bauxite Mining Corporation, involving two major corporations: Sterlite Industries India Limited, a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources Plc with 76% shares, and the state-owned Orissa Mining Corporation with 24% shares. 

 

The proposed project has faced a number of human rights and environmental objections, not the least important of which relates to the exercise of the right to water.These activities have occurred in the context of a regulatory framework that fails to ensure that the rights in the Convention are respected by companies subject to the jurisdiction of the UK. 

 

These include rights:-

 

(a) to security of person;

 

(b) to health;

 

( c ) to self-determination;

 

(d)  not to be subject to destruction of culture;

 

(e ) to own, use, develop and control traditional lands (as well as lands that have been otherwise acquired);

 

(f) not to be forcibly removed from lands or territories without free, prior and informed consent (FPIC)

 

(g) and the payment of just and fair compensation;

 

(h) to conservation of the environment and the productive capacity of territories and

resources;

 

(i) to be able to participate in, develop and pass on cultural and religious customs;

 

 

(j) to participate in decision-making in matters that would affect their rights.

 

 

———————————————————————————————–

 (A)The Convention, Article 5(b); UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by UNGA Resolution 61/295 on 13 September 2007 (“UNDRIP”), Article 7.

 

(B) UNDRIP, Article 24(2), which refers to the right of Indigenous Peoples to equal enjoyment of “the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health”. See also Article 29(3). See also the 1997 General Recommendation 23 (1997 General Recommendation), paragraph 4(c).

 

 ( C ) See the 1997 General Recommendation which calls on States parties to “recognize and protect the rights of indigenous peoples to own, develop, control and use their communal lands, territories and resources”, at paragraph See also UNDRIP, Articles 3, 4 and 5.

 

(D)1997 General Recommendation, paragraph 4(a); UNDRIP, Article 8, and see also Article 31 in

relation to preservation of cultural heritage and traditional knowledge.

 

(E) UNDRIP, Article 26 and Article 32(1).

 

(F) UNDRIP, Article 10 and Article 32(2). See also Articles 25 and 26 in relation to rights of access to traditionally-owned lands. See also 1997 General Recommendation, paragraph 4(d). See also UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (“CESCR”), General Comment No. 21: Right of Everyone to Take Part in Cultural Life, 21 December 2009, paragraph 37.

 

(G) UNDRIP, Article 10, 11 and 28.

 

 

(H) UNDRIP, Article 29. See also Article 20 (right to security in the enjoyment of “means of subsistence  and development”).

 

(I) CERD, Article 5(e)(vi); UNDRIP, Articles 11, 12 and 13.

 

(J)  UNDRIP, Articles 18, 19 and Article 32(2); CERD, Article 5(c) (“political rights”)

 

 

 

Ref:

——- 

 

Cernic, Jernej Letnar (2011) : Corporate obligations under the human right to water, Denver Journal of International Law and Policy › Vol. 39 Nbr. 2.

 

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2004-10-06/news/27393483_1_bauxite-lanjigarh-alumina-project

 

http://orissa.gov.in/news/archive/2004/october/191004

 

“Govt. of Orissa decided in March, 1997 to develop the bauxite

deposits in Lanjigarh and Karlapat and a MoU with Sterlite Industries Ltd.

was executed during April, 1997 by OMC. After successful negotiation with

Sterlite for setting up an integrated aluminium project consisting of 1 million

tonne Alumina & 2.2 lakh tonne of Aluminium per year, the MoU was

converted into an agreement with M/s. Vedanta Alumina Ltd ( the arm of

M/s. Sterlite Industries for bauxite / Alumina Projects ) on October 5 , 2004

for the Lanjigarh deposit after obtaining due approvals. Govt. of India has

also approved the mining lease for the Lanjigarh bauxite deposits in favour

of OMC after being fully informed of the terms and conditions of the above

agreement.”

 

 

London Metal Exchange and Maikanch martyrs, Odisha, India

 

Faking Happiness- #Vedanta will adopt 92 rural schools in south Rajasthan


 
Dec 3. 2012
Udaipur: Vedanta’s group company, Hindustan Zinc has signed an MoU with the Rajasthan Government to adopt 92 Schools in phases in Chittorgarh and Bhilwara District of the state.
The aim is to adopt 92 schools, 72 Government schools in Bhilwara for 5 years and 20 schools in Chittorgarh for 3 years, a company official said.The company would spend about Rs 3.35 Crore on this project.The project would provide basic infrastructure facilities like construction of class rooms, boundary walls of the school, installation of hand pumps, ceiling fans, coolers, construction of toilets, playgrounds, furniture for the children etc, said Pavan Kaushik,Head Corporate Communication.It will also provide scholarships to meritorious students.The company also plans to encourage plantation drive to develop green belt in schools.

To monitor the success of the project, a committee of 5 members has been formed which would have 2 members from Vedanta Hindustan Zinc, 2 from school and 1 member nominated by District Magistrate.

Based on the need of the school authority and assigned budget, the project will be executed by Vedanta Hindustan Zinc.

This would also ensure optimum utilisation of funds.

Earlier Vedanta Hindustan Zinc had provided 1000 computers to 200 government schools in rural areas and e-subject software support to about 500 schools.

The company is also providing daily mid-day meal to over 80,000 students in 2000 government schools in Rajasthan to ensure nutrition support to students.

Most of these children are from poor family and need regular nutrition support.

PTI

Karnataka Govt pact with generic drug seller ‘illegal’


Chethan Kumar Bangalore: Nov 28, 2012 DH News Service

Documents reveal the MoU was signed more than 2 months before the company got licence

The Karnataka government’s agreement with a private firm (Esscubes Medisience Private Limited) to sell and market generic drugs has drawn flak within the ruling BJP and it is alleged that the company was favoured in violation of rules.

Incidentally, the name and address of one of the directors of the company matches with the name and address of a trustee in ‘AASARE Foundation’, a trust with which S A Ramdas, the Minister for Medical Education, has connections.

Although there is no evidence to directly prove that Ramdas used his influence in selecting the company, doubts have cropped up as documents show Shankarananda (No 76, II Cross, Lake Shore Gardens, Thindlu, Vidyaranyapura Post, Bangalore 97) has connections with both the Trust and Esscubes.

The Karnataka State Co-operative Consumers Federation Limited (KSCCF), a wing of the State government, entered into an agreement with Esscubes for sale and marketing of Generic Drugs on March 10 this year.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the two parties was aimed at executing the government’s novel initiative of providing generic drugs, which are a lot more affordable than drugs available in the market to the lower and middle-income groups.

However, documents with Deccan Herald show that the said company was chosen to market and sell the drugs in just a month and eight days after the Registrar of Companies, Karnataka gave the Certificate of Incorporation.

The Certificate of Incorporation for Esscubes with corporate identity number ‘U36912KA201PTC062395’ was given on February 2, 2012 and the MoU between the company and the KSFCC was signed on March 10.

Further, documents from the office of the assistant drugs controller reveal that the company was accorded the licence to carry out such business on May 2, 2012, suggesting that it was allowed to market and sell drugs even before it had the licence to do so.

Well-placed sources in the government said that the methods followed in selection of the company and the execution of the agreement were not as per the prescribed laws and suspected that there could be a role of influential persons in striking such a deal.

Sarvabhouma Bagali, a BJP MLA told Deccan Herald: “There is enough proof to show that the company was selected in an unfair manner and I will raise this issue in the Assembly.”
Repeated attempts to contact Ramdas were futile.

The company, violating the rules of the Memorandum of Understanding with KSCCF, had entered into a sub-lease agreement with KIMS, Hubli.