Fuzzy thinking on SC Niyamgiri verdict #Vedanta


Reports and editorials on the Supreme Court verdict in the Vedanta case might have missed the mark. ARITRA BHATTACHARYA says a section of the media is even acting as apologist for the multinational.
 Saturday, Apr 27 , The Hoot.org

The April 18 Supreme Court judgement on the Vedanta’s bauxite mining project in the Niyamgiri hills has been widely reported. While some quarters and activists hailed it as a positive judgement, Vedanta and Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) found enough reason for hope and opportunity in the judgement. Other reports underscored how local people had been given the right to decide on the operations of a global mining giant, pointed out how it was a landmark event, and underscored the power of the local tribals.

Most reports, however, failed to point out the fact that the court had, in a sense, chosen to bypass the most vexing questions relating to violations of environmental laws in the case. The SC decision, while granting the ‘right’ to decide on the fate of the bauxite mine to the gram sabhas, chose to set aside all ecological concerns and made religious rights of the Niyamgiri tribals the central plank of the judgement.

Bypassing connections

The OMC had decried the earlier 2010 order of the Supreme Court where it refused clearance to the bauxite mining project on grounds of violation of laws in the alumina refinery. The Supreme Court order, while making a note of this, said:

Petitioner… submitted that the order wrongly cites the violation of certain conditions of environmental clearance by “Alumina Refinery Project” as grounds for denial of Stage II clearance to OMC for its “Bauxite Mining Project”…the violation of any statutory provision or a condition of environmental clearance by one cannot be a relevant consideration for grant of Stage II clearance to the other.

Holding forth on the connections between the two ‘projects’— a crucial plank in the petitioner’s argument — the Supreme Court judgement made all the right noises. It noted:

Quite contrary to the case of the petitioner, it can be strongly argued that the Alumina Refinery Project and Bauxite Mining Project are interdependent and inseparably linked together and, hence, any wrong doing by Alumina Refinery Project may cast a reflection on the Bauxite Mining Project and may be a relevant consideration for denial of Stage II clearance to the Bauxite Mining Project.

The court, however, refused to take a clear stand on the issue. In the same breath, it went on to rule:

In this Judgment, however, we do not propose to make any final pronouncement on that issue but we would keep the focus mainly on the rights of the Scheduled Tribes and the “Traditional Forest Dwellers” under the Forest Rights Act.

With this, it may be argued, the judgement refused to tackle the most vexing aspect of the case; instead, in focusing on the rights of the STs and TFDs, it shifted the parameters of discourse elsewhere, away from violation of environmental laws by a part of the project.

In no uncertain terms, the judgement states that the only the state has the right to decide on the extraction of minerals. It notes:

The Forest Rights Act, neither expressly nor impliedly, has taken away or interfered with the right of the State over mines or minerals lying underneath the forest land, which stand vested in the State. State holds the natural resources as a trustee for the people.

Through the judgement, the Supreme Court has clearly defined the arc within which the local population of an area may have a say in a large-scale mineral extraction project in their area. In the event of majority of claims under the Forest Rights Act in the project area being settled, the only grounds on which local people can oppose a project they may not want is religion and culture. The judgement, in the last part, holds forth on this:

Religious freedom guaranteed to STs and the TFDs under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution is intended to be a guide to a community of life and social demands…Their right to worship the deity Niyam-Raja has, therefore, to be protected and preserved.

The court further observed:

We are, therefore, of the view that the question whether STs and other TFDs, like Dongaria Kondh, Kutia Kandha and others, have got any religious rights i.e. rights of worship over the Niyamgiri hills, known as Nimagiri, near Hundaljali, which is the hill top known as Niyam-Raja, have to be considered by the Gram Sabha.

The gram sabhas have been asked to arrive at a decision within three months, and the MoEF is supposed to take a final call on the matter within the following two months.

What does this shift in the parameters of the discourse hold? For one, in shifting the locus of decision-making in the gram sabhas to the domain of the cultural/ religious, the argument will now shift from verifiable facts to matters of perception.

In the coming months, local bodies in the area will have to deal with the following question: will the local deity be disturbed if mining is allowed within a 10-km radius of his/her abode? How much space, and what kind of access will be required to preserve my religious practices and rituals? As is evident, there can be no factual replies to such questions; instead, responses will be based on perceptions. Therefore, the task of any well-meaning industrialist has to be one of perception management.

In a clear reflection of this, the Economic Times editorial on April 19, the day after the judgment, pointed out:

The Supreme Court has…opened a window of opportunity for Vedanta to win over the tribal group, Dongariya Kondhs, who worship the bauxite mounds the company wants to mine…Mining companies should offer terms that elicit consent of those who stand to be displaced for the uprooting of life and livelihood as they have known them. The Kondhs in Niyamgiri can perhaps be persuaded to restrict their worship to a couple of hills, by offering them access to a better, albeit different, life.

As pointed out earlier, this editorial underscores how religious and cultural rights are a matter of perception, and how sound negotiation can persuade locals to re-look at their traditional practices.

To be sure, Vedanta is no novice at perception management. Readers will recall its “Creating Happiness” campaign, and its claims of running plush health clinics and educational institutes in the project-affected areas. Although some reports and documentaries showed how these clinics were without doctors and hardly had any health facilities, and how local educational institutes were, in some cases, merely buildings, Vedanta has continued to cultivate perceptions in and outside the project- affected area. Now, perhaps, it needs to do a wee bit more to convince the poor tribals that their deity after all will be well served by prosperity.

ET’s Vedanta plug?

In fact, a piece on the edit page of the Economic Times on April 19 makes precisely this very argument. Waxing eloquent on the prowess of Vedanta chief Anil Agarwal, the article notes:

Vedanta has somehow acquired this public image of being hostile to environment and the habitats of tribals and villagers…All this may have been due to past mistakes and a communication gap, but it is time for Agarwal to address and solve this problem. Many mining and metal companies operate in India but only Vedanta seems to face this problem on a persistent basis.

It is strange that the author can make this claim about only Vedanta facing this problem on a persistent basis in the same breath where he speaks about the shutting down of the company’s smelter in Tamil Nadu owing to violations of environmental laws.

The choice of words is also instructive, for the writer says that Vedanta has ‘acquired this public image of being hostile’— a sleight of hand suggesting that this is actually not the case; that Vedanta in fact, adheres to the highest norms of upholding rights of local communities.

The writer goes on to locate the troubles of Vedanta in the activities of hostile global NGOs. In what appears to belittle the Dongria and Kutia Kondhs, the author proclaims:

Tribals are often smarter than city dwellers. They know the advantages of proper schools, housing and a decent standard of living, and are unlikely to dismiss sincere outreach efforts.

All that Vedanta’s Anil Agarwal needs to do is “use his clout as an industrialist to win over Niyamgiri”, as the article suggests. Perhaps, the Supreme Court judgment lays the ground for this. After all matters of religion and culture, particularly when it does not happen to pertain to forces right of Centre, are not set in stone.

Irony escapes notice

Those opposed to the Vedanta project, as well as Vedanta and OMC — the project proponents — lauded the judgment. This irony, however, escaped the notice of most papers, which remained fixated on the flawed narrative of tribals halting a multi-million dollar company in its tracks. Indian Express, The Hindu, Times of India, Economic Times, The Telegraph, Hindustan Times and Mint — all reported on the verdict. In its coverage, Mint looked at the Niyamgiri verdict in conjunction with the SC verdict on partial lifting of iron-ore mining ban in Karnataka. The story suggested that the twin verdicts were a relief for the natural resources sector, but there was hope for mining companies. None of the newspapers, however, carried an editorial or opinion pieces on the judgment.

However, Ananda Bazar Patrika, the Bengali daily from the Telegraph stable, reflected on the judgment in a piece on the edit page on April 25. The article sought to underscore the SC judgment for what the author saw as the most important aspect. She noted that the judgment, perhaps for the first time, had upheld the religious and cultural rights of tribals. She noted that while tribals constitute over 11 per cent of the population, their right to uphold their traditional and religious practices had so far escaped recognition. The author, Jaya Mitra, questioned whether anyone would dare raise the issue of taking apart even a section of the Kalighat temple or the Jama Masjid in the interest of a project, while pointing out that the opposite has been the norm as far as places of worship of tribals are concerned. In the same piece, however, she noted that examples of large corporations being punished for violating environmental norms are few and far between.

What effect will Mitra’s observation hold for large projects in tribal areas across the country? Perhaps, it is imperative to mention the case of the Western Ghats here: Readers might recall that a recent MoEF High Level Working Group identified around 37 per cent of the total area of the Western Ghats as ecologically sensitive, classifying the rest of the 63 per cent area as “cultural landscape”. The operative word here, of course, is culture, and following the SC verdict on Niyamgiri, people in these areas would not have any grounds to oppose a project — however detrimental it may be to the environment — save by resorting to a religious lexicon.

 

SC slams brakes on Vedanta’s Niyamgiri project #GOODNEWS #tribalrights #PESA


NDTV , April 18, 2013

New DelhiThe Supreme Court has continued a ban on bauxite mining in the Niyamgiri Hills in Odisha considered sacred by tribals.

In a verdict that appears to recognize the rights of forest-dwelling Dongria-Kondh tribals to have a say in  projects that affect their habitat,  economic development and culture,  the Supreme Court has said that it’s up to  the  gram sabhas or local self-governments to decide if the Niyamgiri Hills are home to their deity. They have been asked to share their decision within three months with the union Environment Ministry.

The mining project is  a joint venture between UK-Based Vedanta Resources which is controlled by billionaire Anil Aggarwal  and the state government.  It is meant to supply bauxite, the main raw material for aluminium, to an alumina refinery it has set up  at Lanjigarh in the Kalahandi district, about 450 kilometres from state capital.   The refinery was shut in December because of a shortage of bauxite.

In 2011, the union government had refused environmental clearances to the mining project.

The Odisha government had challenged the centre’s decision in the Supreme Court, because it stood to lose thousands of crores in investment.

 

 

Vedanta nudges Odisha again for bauxite supply


Sadananda Mohapatra  April 13, 2013, BT

VAL has been persistently urging the state government to arrange bauxite supplies from alternative sources

 
 
 
 
 

Vedanta Aluminium, which has shut its alumina refinery at Lanjigarh due to bauxite unavailability, has written to the Odisha government once again for ensuring supply of the raw material.

“Thousands have become jobless. We shall be grateful if urgent action is taken for ensuring bauxite supply in line with the memorandum of understanding between Odisha government and VAL,” said Mukesh Kumar, president of the company.

The company had entered into a pact with state run miner Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) to source bauxite from the ecologically fragile Niyamgiri hills with deposits of around 70 million tonne.

Since its shutdown, VAL has been persistently urging the state government to arrange bauxite supplies from alternative sources as the pact ensured supply of 150 million tonne of the raw material to feed the company’s one million tonne refinery.

In February, VAL requested the inter ministerial group of the state government, constituted for raw material supply to state-based industries, to expedite processing of pending applications of OMC, especially those bauxite leases falling under non-forest areas.

These applications are either at PL (prospecting license) or ML (mining lease) stages.

The company had also approached the government to allow OMC or any private player to the excavate low grade bauxite deposits buried in exhausted iron ore mines of Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) and Rungta Mines.

The state government has already conducted a hearing on the lease renewal of a bauxite mine of Rungta Sons, but nothing has moved since then.

“Further to the presentation made by us before the ministerial committee on February 15, we would like to bring your kind attention that the plant is still under temporary shut down as no arrangement for bauxite could be made,” Kumar said in the letter.

 

Press Release – PESA and bauxite mining in Andhra Pradesh- HRF


April 4, 2013

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) takes strong objection to the reported view of the AP Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC) that it does not have to hold gram sabhas in the area where it is leasing in land for bauxite mining because the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas Act) 1996 (PESA) is not applicable to major minerals.

If the APMDC thinks it is being very clever, we invite its officers to read PESA once again. Section 4 (k) and 4 (l) which refer to prior recommendation of the gram sabha or the panchayats for grant of prospecting or mining lease is confined to minor minerals, but those are not the only provisions of PESA. Under Section 4 (d), the power to safeguard and preserve the community resources, which is another name for common property resources, should be with the gram sabha.

Though the land being leased to APMDC for mining bauxite in the Visakhapatnam agency is forest land, undertaking mining in that land will affect the water resources of the neighbouring hamlets since the water retained in the bauxite hills is the source of the rivulets and subsoil water that the people depend upon. It is a well-established fact that the hills containing bauxite deposits have a good capacity for retention of water, which will be lost for ever if the hills are opened up for mining.

The land proposed to be mined is also a source of minor forest produce such as thatching and dry twigs. It is a source of grazing for animals. The ownership of such minor forest produce is conferred on the gram sabha by Section 4 (m) (ii) of PESA and tat right cannot be unilaterally taken away.

We demand that the APMDC stop acting over-intelligent and follows scrupulously the provisions of Section 4 (d), 4 (m) (ii) and the general principle in section 4 (m) that the gram panchayat in the Scheduled Areas is endowed with the power of self-government. PESA is a progressive legislation that protects the adivasi communities’ rights to land and resources in tribal areas. These rights simply cannot be overridden unlawfully.

VS Krishna
(HRF State general secretary)

 

#India- Environment ministry denies forest clearance to Vedanta #goodnews


18 FEB, 2013, 04.47AM IST, ET BUREAU

Forest clearance to mine the hills for bauxite for the plant was to follow, but was denied during former environment minister Jairam Ramesh’s tenure.

Forest clearance to mine the hills for bauxite for the plant was to follow, but was denied during former environment minister Jairam Ramesh’s tenure.
NEW DELHI: The environment ministry has defended in the Supreme Court its decision to deny forest clearance under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) to Orissa Mining Corporation’s plan to mine the Niyamgiri Hills to source bauxite for Vedanta‘s alumina plant, while simultaneously leaving the door open for possible dilution of the Forest Rights Act in other project areas. The alumina plant was granted environmental clearance in 2007. Forest clearance to mine the hills for bauxite for the plant was to follow, but was denied during former environment minister Jairam Ramesh’s tenure.Both OMC and Vedanta’s Indian arm Sterlite have challenged in court the MoEF‘s refusal to give forest clearance to mining. The MoEF has defended its refusal to give permission to divert forest land for mining in the hills on several counts — that it violates the fundamental rights of the Dongria Kondhs, a vulnerable tribal group living in this scheduled area, and also their right to inhabit and use the forests as traditional forest dwellers under the FRA. The plan to mine a 7 sq-km area atop the hills held sacred by this tribe violates their right to religion, the MoEF affidavit, filed on Friday, said.

OMC, Sterlite and the Odisha government had accused the MoEF of indulging in doublespeak on the FRA to deny clearance only to OMC’s mining plans and asked the court to direct it to explain whether no forest land can ever be diverted for development under FRA or they were only making an exception for Vedanta.

In a reply affidavit, the MoEF defended its refusal to deny forest clearance to 26% joint venture partner OMC’s plans to mine the hills, but left scope for the Act to be diluted in other cases, possibly to take care of development considerations raised by the PMO, experts suggested. The ministry was asked to state whether the FRA did not envisage any diversion of forest land for development activities or whether it could be permitted under some terms. In its affidavit, the ministry said eligible forest dwellers cannot be evicted “till the process of recognition and vesting of individual and community forest rights under the Act is complete.” Even in areas where rights have been recognized or are “likely to be recognised” diversion of forest land should be “avoided” and that it should be “the last resort after examination of alternatives.”

Greens question bauxite mining plan in Karlapat for #Vedanta


By Express News Service – BHUBANESWAR

07th January 2013 02:48 PM

State Government’s move to provide bauxite to Vedanta Alumina Ltd from near Karlapat Sanctuary has drawn sharp criticism from the green brigade which on Sunday said the decision will prove disastrous for the protected area rich in bio-diversity.

The environment activists said the sanctuary will be lost and precious wildlife such as elephants and tigers will be greatly threatened if mining is allowed by the State Government to benefit Vedanta which last year shut down its refinery due to non-availability of bauxite.

The company had entered into an agreement with Odisha Mining Corporation for extraction of bauxite from Niyamgiri Hills but the Centre vetoed the proposal. The Government is now planning to make the raw material available from Karlapat mines.

Karlapat has a number of perennial streams and nullahs that flow in the region and feed Tel river, a major tributary of the Mahanadi. Besides, its vegetation and water source influence the microclimate of the area.

‘’Karlapat boasts of a strong elephant population and serves as a crucial corridor link between elephants in Kotagarh sanctuary in Kandhamal and Lakhari valley sanctuary in Gajapati. There are four elephant corridors that pass through Karlapat sanctuary,’’ president of Loka Shakti Abhiyan Prafulla Samantara told mediapersons here.

He said the mineral deposited plateaus like Khandualmali and Krishnamali are just one to three km from the boundary of Karlapat and as per the Supreme Court’s guidelines, no development, industrial or mining activities can take place within 10 km of any wildlife sanctuary and national park. The proposed extraction of bauxite ore would violate the existing norm, he said.

Karlapat has moist peninsular sal forests, mixed deciduous forests and bamboo brakes, undulated terrains interspersed with valleys, high altitude peaks, plateaus, innumerable valleys that support many life forms including endangered mammals like tigers and elephants, leopards, wild boar, giant squirrel and antelopes.

Besides, 10 revenue villages and nine un-surveyed villages with a population of 1551 within Karlapat sanctuary would be affected by mines, Samantara pointed out. Tribals mostly belong to Kutia Kandh community.

 

Tribals protest against #Vedanta refinery, demand complete eviction of plant


By Tariq Abdul Muhaimin 12/6/12, Newzfirst

Bhubaneswar – Hundreds of tribals and farmers belonging to several villages and a spectrum of grassroots movements across Odisha on Thursday demonstrated at Lanjigarh, demanding the expulsion of an aluminium refinery owned by British mining giant Vedanta, located at the foot of Niyamgiri Mountain.

Vedanta, a company which by its name symbolizes the sacred texts of Hindu mythology, has been accused of showing complete disregard and disrespect to the sentiments of Dongria Kondh tribesmen who dwell below the Niyamgiri Mountain and consider it as sacrosanct by associating their livelihood to the blessings received from the sacred forest housed by this mountain.

Located at a distance of 600 kms from the state capital Bhubaneswar, Niyamgiri is a place of quiet beauty as the lush green forest which grows on its bed only echoes the sound of chirping birds, winds that blow across the hills and the sound that originates from the Aluminium factory at Lanjigarh.

However, the sound from the Vedanta Alumina refinery (VAL) at Lanjigarh completely subsided on Wednesday as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) announced its closure citing lack of raw material availability.

Lanjigarh refinery shut-down on Wednesday, but tribals demand complete eviction

“We have already started the process of shutting down the alumina plant from the morning. By evening, the one million tonne per annum alumina refinery would completely come to standstill,” Mukesh Kumar, COO of VAL, told reporters on Wednesday.

The plant’s shutdown comes following a three-month closure notice which it had given to the Labour Department of Odisha government on September 5. The notice was served on the grounds of non-availability of raw materials. The refinery needs at least 10,000 tonnes of bauxite everyday to keep the plant operational.

The plant had already witnessed a temporary shutdown in the last three months but was reopened again after a few days, following the availability of bauxite from states like Jharkhand and Gujarat.

Nonetheless, hundreds of villagers from 17 hamlets around the Niyamgiri who marched from their homes towards Lanjigarh on Wednesday to join the demonstration against VAL, demanded the complete eviction of the refinery.

“We are demanding that the refinery must be dismantled completely. It should be locked up and shifted to any other place. Even if the Apex Court delivers a judgment against the mining of Bauxite at Niyamgiri, we doubt that the plant will be shifted” activist Prafulla Samantara from National Alliance of People’s Movements told Newzfirst.

“They will continue their operations by getting raw materials from other states. We cannot allow this. The waters, the forest which is considered sacred by the Dongria and the biodiversity of Niyamgiri are all being affected. They will soon be finished if the plant stays here,” he added.

Tribals and farmers of grassroots organizations such as Niyamgiri Surakhya Samiti, Loka Sangram Mancha, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, and Sachetana Nagarika Mancha were part of this demonstration.

We are hopeful that SC will not allow mining here

In anticipation of the final Supreme Court decision which will decide the fate of the contest between the Aluminium refinery and the locals over the authorization to mine for bauxite in the hills, the ten thousand people who gathered at Lanjigarh to demand the lock-up of VAL, said “We are hopeful”.

The Apex Court’s decision on this ruling was repeatedly postponed and the final hearing took place on 3 December. The protestors were awaiting the decision, which they said would come out any time soon.

“We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will give a judgment in people’s favor. The plan to mine bauxite on the Niyamgiri Mountain will not succeed. At least we won’t let it succeed” Prafulla said.

The tale of Lanjigarh refinery

The Lanjigargh refinery was built at the base of Niyamgiri and assessed for environmental and social impact without taking into account the intention to mine the hill above for bauxite required to run the plant.

The mineral wealth lying beneath the slopes of the mountain had drawn Vedanta to Niyamgiri. Now, it wants to turn the hillside into a giant bauxite mine to feed its refinery.

However, obtaining permission to mine the mountain has been very difficult for the British giant Vedanta.

The previous ruling by Environment and Forests minister Jairam Ramesh in August 2010 prevented Vedanta from mining the mountain due to violations of environment and forestry acts.

The challenge to this ruling was mounted by the Orissa Mining Corporation, a state owned company with 24% shares in the joint venture to mine Niyamgiri with Vedanta.

Now, the Supreme Court decision which will decide if mining can be done on the Niyamgiri, is awaited.

Vedanta’s Alumina Refinery Shuts Down In Odisha


Unable to secure bauxite despite concerted efforts, the Vedanta group said it has shut down its alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Odisha’s Kalahandi district
Vedanta's Alumina Refinery Shuts Down In Odisha

Picture by Reuters

Unable to secure bauxite despite concerted efforts, the Vedanta group on 5 December’ 2012 said it has shut down its one million tonne alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Odisha’s Kalahandi district.
“We are forced to close down the Lanjigarh refinery due to depletion of stock of bauxite. Despite efforts over the past three months, we were unable to ensure sustainable supplies,” CEO of Vedanta Aluminium Mukesh Kumar told PTI over phone.
“For the last few days, we ran the unit at around 20 per cent of capacity incurring heavy loss,” Kumar said.
The bauxite stock was ‘almost zero’, a senior Vedanta official said.
The mining conglomerate, which runs the refinery of Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL), had given a closure notice to the Odisha government on September 5 on shutting operations from December 5, citing severe shortage of bauxite as the main reason.
Stating that 10,000-11,000 tonne of bauxite was required per day for normal functioning of the refinery, Kumar said the company explored several sources outside Odisha, but failed to secure more than 3,000 tonne daily.
Though the company’s top management met Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and chief secretary several times for bauxite for the refinery, no solution could be found, he said.
Voicing doubt over immediate revival of the plant, another company official said that the 75 mw captive power plant set up in Lanjigarh would also have to be shut down in view of the uncertain scenario.
A company official had said earlier that the shutdown of the refinery was likely to affect about 3,000 workforce directly and around 4,500 indirectly, although “we are not contemplating any retrenchment at the moment”.
The company has invested about Rs 50,000 crore in the refinery along with an aluminium smelter of 1.5 mtpa and a captive power plant in Jharsuguda.

(PTI)

 

#Vedanta to stick to December 5 deadline for closure of refinery


Sadananda Mohapatra / Kolkata/ Bhubaneswar Dec 03, 2012, 00:07 IST, Business Standard

 

Vednata Aluminium Ltd (VAL), which had given a three-month advance notice to the Odisha government for closure of its Lanjigarh alumina refinery from December 5 citing unavailability of bauxite, may not relent on its decision as there is still no solution to the raw material problems.

Though the company top including group chairman Anil Agrawal and VAL MD SK Rungta called on the state chief minister and chief secretary seeking alternate arrangement for supply of bauxite to the plant, there has been no progress in this regard making the shutdown of the plant by the given deadline an inevitable outcome.

 

“In the recent meeting between the state government and Vedanta officials, the government could not come out with a solution to arrange bauxite for the Lanjigarh refinery. The company has no other alternative but to shut down the plant from December 5 onwards,” a company official told Business Standard.

 

In its September 5 notice to the state labour commissioner and industries department, the company had said running the plant was no longer sustainable “unless the Odisha government finds a solution for bauxite supply”.

The company had closed the one million tonne per annum alumina refinery temporarily in October after all its bauxite stocks exhausted. It had reopened the refinery a week after ensuring bauxite supplies of about 40,000 tonnes from Bharat Aluminum Company’s (Balco) Kawardah mines in Chhattisgarh and about 92,000 tonne from Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation (GMDC).“There are no more stocks as of now nor do we have any hope to get raw material from anywhere else to run the plant smoothly,” said the company official.

VAL has invested Rs 5,000 crore in the Lanjigarh plant so far and incurred losses to the tune of Rs 2,500 crore during the past five years of its stunted operation.

The closure of the plant is expected to affect the livelihood of 6,500 people, including 550 employed directly, 5,000 engaged indirectly and 1,000 self-employed in and around the plant. VAL had formed a JV with the state-run Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) for the supply of 150 million tonnes of bauxite, which included 78-million tonne reserves from the Niyamgiri hills.While bauxite mining in the Niyamgiri hills was prohibited by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), there was no attempt by OMC or the state government to supply bauxite from other sources.

OMC has said its hands are tied down by rule of law since the agreement was meant only for supply from Niyamgiri mines, which is a matter of sub-judice currently. The miner has no large bauxite mine under its ownership as of

 

#India- No Mining ,No Vedanta #Indigenous #Tribal #mustwatch


The struggle of common people continuing. Niyamgiri hill or alternate mining areas are being protested for bauxite mining from Bhawanipatna of Kalahandi district to Gatamalli hill of Rayagada.’NO Mining-No Vedanta‘if this voice of the people is not emphasized in the mainstream media than also people are voicing against mining.it is impossible to run the Langigarh Vedanta project without availing Odisha mining.company’s top official said.their last hope is Niyamgiri hill,because the paper works for first phase for alternate mining has not yet been ready of Odisha mining corporation is passionately waiting for the last decision by supreme court for Niyamgiri. which has been well understood by the protesters.that’s why the common-man are raising their voice’NO MINING,NO VEDANTA’……

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