Anti-Vedanta body to march near Niyamgiri


The march next week will inform villagers about the gram sabha to be conducted as directed by court
Ruchira Singh , livemint
First Published: Wed, May 08 2013.
The gram sabha (village council) will play a crucial role in deciding whether Vedanta Resources Plc can mine for bauxite in the Niyamgiri hills and grow its aluminium business in India. Photo: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
The gram sabha (village council) will play a crucial role in deciding whether Vedanta Resources Plc can mine for bauxite in the Niyamgiri hills and grow its aluminium business in India. Photo: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
Mumbai: An anti-Vedanta body will undertake a padyayatra, or journey by foot, in the Kalahandi and Rayagada districts of Orissa next week to inform villagers about the gram sabha to be conducted as directed by the Supreme Court.
The gram sabha (village council) will play a crucial role in deciding whether Vedanta Resources Plc can mine for bauxite in the Niyamgiri hills and grow its aluminium business in India.
“Our padyayatra will inform people about the democratic process to be followed, how to make your voice heard and against muscle power and money power,” Lingaraj Azad, organizer of the Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti said speaking over the phone from Kandel village in Kalahandi.
The padyayatra will take place between 14 May and 21 May, Azad said.
The Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti is an anti-Vedanta body, but Azad did not say if he will be campaigning against the proposed mining in the Niyamgiri hills.
On 18 April, the Supreme Court said gram sabhas will give a report on the contentious mining proposal in three months, following which, in two months, the ministry of environment and forest affairs will decide finally if Vedanta’s project can go ahead.
The Supreme Court’s order said the gram sabha must be carried out independently without the influence of the project proponents.
A Vedanta spokesperson declined comment.
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First Published: Wed, May 08 2013. 05 57 PM

Vedanta- Social Media Campaign ‘ Khushi’ – Faking Happiness #CSR


Kamayani Bali Mahabal- April 17,2013  for Faking Happiness Campaign

Vedanta Resources plc is a London listed FTSE100 company which has brought death and destruction to thousands. 63% of it is owned by billionaire Anil Agarwal and his family through companies in various tax havens. It has been consistently fought by people’s movements but it is being helped by the British government to evolve into a multi-headed monster and spread across India and round the world, diversifying into iron ore in Goa, Karnataka and Liberia, Zinc in Rajasthan, Namibia, South Africa and Ireland, copper in Zambia and most recently oil in the ecologically fragile Mannar region in Sri Lanka.

Vedanta’s Record in India:

In Odisha, India:

Vedanta’s bauxite mining and aluminium smelters have left more than tenthousand displaced people landless, contaminated drinking water sources with ‘red mud’ and fly ash,and devastated vast tracts of fertile land in an area which has seen famine every year since 2007.Vedanta’s mine on the sacred Niyamgiri hills has been fought by Adivasi (indigenous)-led people’smovements for seven long years and has so far been stopped. This has rendered their subsidiaryVedanta Aluminium (VAL) a loss making company, starving it’s refineries at Jharsuguda and Lanjigarhof local bauxite.

In Goa:

Vedanta’s Sesa Goa subsidiary has been accused of large scale fraud and illegal mining.In June 2009 following a pit wall collapse which drowned Advalpal village in toxic mine waste, a 9year old local boy Akaash Naik filed a petition to stop the mine and mass protests later that yearhalted mining at one of Sesa Goa’s sites. In 2011 there were more major mine waste floods. In SouthGoa a 90 day road blockade by 400 villagers succeeded in stopping another iron ore mine. Sesa Goaare paying ‘silence funds’ to try and prevent similar action at their South Goa mine.

In Tamil Nadu, Tuticorin:

Vedanta subsidiary Sterlite has flouted laws without remorse, operatingand expanding without consent, violating environmental conditions, and illegally dumping toxiceffluents and waste. In 1997 a toxic gas leak hospitalised 100 people sparking an indefinite hungerstrike by a local politician and a ‘siege on Sterlite’ that led to 1643 arrests. Later that year a kilnexplosion killed two. An estimated 16 workers died between 2007 and 2011. Police recorded mostworkers deaths as suicides. Pollution Control Boards, judges and expert teams have on severaloccasions reversed damning judgements of the company, demonstrating large scale corruption andbribery. Activists are waging a court battle which has stopped operations for several short periods.

In Tamil Nadu, Mettur:

Vedanta bought MALCO ‘s aluminium complex at Mettur 2 yearsbefore permission for their Kolli Hills bauxite mines expired but continued to mine illegally for 10years. Five adivasi villages were disturbed and a sacred grove destroyed before activist’s petitionsstopped mining in 2008. Without local bauxite and with protests preventing bauxite coming fromNiyamgiri in Orissa the factory at Mettur was also forced to close. However, the abandoned andunreclaimed mines continue to pollute the mountains and a huge red mud dump by the Stanleyreservoir pollutes drinking water and blows toxic dust into the village.

In Chhattisgarh, Korba:

Vedanta bought the state owned BALCO’s alumina refinery, smelter andbauxite mines for ten times less than its estimated value in 2001 despite a landmark 61 day strike byworkers. Since then wages have been slashed and unionised workers are losing jobs. In 2009 afactory chimney collapsed, BALCO claimed 42 were killed, but in fact 60 – 100 people are stillmissing. Witnesses claim these workers from poor families in neighbouring states are buriedunderground in the rubble, which was bulldozed over immediately after the collapse

British Government’s special relationship with Vedanta

• The UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) and Department of Tradeand Industry (DTI) helped launch Vedanta on the London Stock Exchange andcontinues to support the company.
• Through the World Bank funded NGO Business Partners for Development, it hashelped Vedanta take over copper mines in Zambia . Although Vedanta has been finedfor poisoning the Kafue river and faced workers protests, the UK is helpingestablish it in Zambia by securing in the words of local NGOs “ a ‘champion’ withincentral government to further the ‘enabling environment’”.
• Meanwhile in Liberia in what has been described as one of the worst recordedconcession agreements in the country’s history Sesa Goa is accused of breach ofcontract and may have to pay damages of US$10 billion.
• Most recently when the Indian government held up Vedanta’s deal with EdinburghbasedCairn Energy by investigating Vedanta’s ability to manage strategic oil fields, UKgovernment officials, briefed “over dinner” by Cairn Energy, offered to “polish” and senda letter drafted by the company to the Indian Prime Minister to force the deal through.David Cameron even personally intervened, urging India to speed up’unnecessary delays’. As a result the Indian government caved in and allowed a dealwhich handed some 30% of India’s crude oil for a fraction of its worth to this notoriouscorporate.
• Vedanta’s Cairn India is now drilling for oil in the ecologically fragile off-shoreregion around Mannar in Sri Lanka – an area controlled by the Sri Lankan military.

Vedanta Resources,  is attempting to claim to be social responsible via a huge advertising campaign. The latest is the  social media campaign, ‘Khushi’, aimed at underprivileged children, is poised to complete one year. Launched on April 10, 2012. In this video we attack all tall claims of Vedanta Khushi Campaign.

The Reality is –

Vedanta has suffocated the life of Adivasis in Niyamgiri foothills. The entire area is overlapped with Red Mud. Most of humans, animals, birds and insects are infected with skin diseases. Proper medical facilities are unavailable; there is no sign of hospital. By pressures, by vicious means, by force, by paying less, Vedanta bought the farming and forest land of Local tribes. They cheated them by providing technical training to make them skillful workers in Vedanta Mines and factories, as soon as land got transferred, Vedanta thrown them out.

Red mud has converted all crop fields and forest into waste land, the vein is spreading. The river Vasamdhara is the main source of water for all constituents of habitats in Niyamgiri. Vedanta’s Red Mud resulted in converting drinkable water of Vasamdhara to polluted and toxic waste; it is causing dangerous skin diseases and cancer. Even Animals and birds are rejecting it to drink. The situation of Vasamdhara is same from Niyamgiri till KalingapatnamAmnesty International broke this harsh truth.

Niyamgiri foothills is a treasure of bauxite, Bauxite is a main component to make aluminum. According to statistic, Niyamgiri foothills contain 72 lakh million ton of bauxite. The average cost of 1 ton bauxite is approx 6500 INR, whereas all 72 lakh million ton is not awarded to Vedanta for mining. The prices are fixed very little, when Government awards a license to mine, it is simple to understand the covetous intentions of Vedanta by looking at the history and biology of Vedanta.

Government and Vedanta has fixed the price of Niyamgiri foothills, the predators have camped and pasted like a woodworm. Vedanta Aluminum Ltd is camped with crooked intentions in Laljiganj located at south Odisha . A fake kingdom of 700 Hectares expanded by cheating legally and eating illegally, hooks or crook they used every evil outfit.

Village Bundela initiated the revolution against Vedanta few years back, many voices were raised, and dozens of revolutionaries are martyred. There are few Tribal’s if they further replaced from this areas, they will lose their name from World map. They are already on the way of extinction because of Vedanta what a Price tag we have placed on forest and tribes in this materialistic world. We are the silent observer of slaughter of Humanity.

JOIN US FAKING HAPPINESS CAMPAIGN

https://www.facebook.com/groups/fakinghappiness/

Bombay HC approves Sterlite Industries merger proposal, but ball is in Madras HC


Press Trust of India | Updated On: April 03, 2013 15:44 (IST)
New Delhi: Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd today said the Bombay High Court has approved the merger of the mining firm with Madras Aluminium Company, Sterlite Energy Ltd, Vedanta Aluminium and Sesa Goa.

“The Honourable High Court of Bombay…approved the scheme of amalgamation and arrangement amongst Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd, Madras Aluminium Company Ltd, Sterlite Energy Ltd, Vedanta Aluminium Ltd and Sesa Goa Ltd and their respective shareholders and creditors to create Sesa Sterlite,” the company said in a filing to BSE.

However, the merger is subject to approval of Madras High Court, it said.

“The scheme is also subject to approval of the Honourable High Court of Madras, wherein the hearings have been completed and the order is awaited,” the statement said.

Sterlite Industries (India) is a leading metal and mining firm which produces aluminium, copper, zinc, lead, silver and commercial energy.

Besides India, the company has operations in countries like Australia, Namibia, South Africa and Ireland.

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).

 

Vedanta Aluminium to acquire L&T’s bauxite mines in Orissa for $330M


Monday, June 11, 2012

English: Vedanta Nagar Lanjigarh

English: Vedanta Nagar Lanjigarh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BY  Team Vcc
This follows a deal struck in February wherein VAL entered into a tripartite agreement with L&T and Raykal Aluminium Company Private Ltd.

LSE-listed Vedanta Resources’ group firm Vedanta Aluminium (VAL) has struck a deal to acquire Raykal Aluminium Company Private Ltd (Raykal) from diversified conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T) for Rs 1,811 crore ($330 million) over a period of time in a milestone-based acquisition, the company has disclosed.

In the first leg of the deal, it has acquired 24.5 per cent of Raykal for Rs 200.7 crore ($36 million).

This follows a deal struck in February wherein VAL entered into a tripartite agreement with L&T and Raykal. L&T holds certain prospecting licenses for bauxite mines located at Sijmali and Kurumali of Rayagad and Kalahandi districts of Orissa. By this agreement the entire bauxite excavated from above mines will be available for the use of Raykal and/or Vedanta Aluminium.

Bauxite is a key raw material used for alumina production. The mines would feed the alumina plant of VAL in the state.

Incorporated in 2001, VAL is a producer of metallurgical grade alumina and other aluminium products, which cater to a wide spectrum of industries.

The firm operates 1 mtpa greenfield alumina refinery and an associated 75 MW captive power plant at Lanjigarh in the state of Orissa. It is increasing the capacity of the Lanjigarh refinery to 5 mtpa.

It has also invested in a 0.5 mtpa aluminum smelter and 1,215 MW captive power plant at Jharsuguda, Orissa. As per its website, it is also constructing 1.1 mtpa aluminium smelter expansion project at Jharsuguda.

Jharsuguda is also the site of 2,400 MW independent power plant being set up by group company Sterlite Energy Ltd.

For Vedanta Resources group, this deal comes as yet another big ticket acquisition in the country. The metal & mining firm which has diversified into oil business among other areas has struck multi-billion dollar deal for Cairn India and has also expanded in the mining field by snapping Sesa Goa few years ago.

Camera Obscura and the manufacture of happiness- Vedanta


English: Photograph of Shyam Benegal in his of...

Image via Wikipedia

Aman Sethi and Priscilla Jebaraj, march 6, The HIndu

Hostile online campaign takes some of the shine off Vedanta‘s promotionals.

An advertisement flooding airwaves across the country would have you believe that a company called Vedanta is a creating a product called happiness. A young child called “Binno” plays, studies, and thinks big dreams in one of India‘s lusher and more idyllic villages. Binno’s joy, the voice-over says, is relatively recent: Binno’s parents probably didn’t have as much fun or as many dreams as Binno does.

Binno’s parents don’t dispute the claims, but it is safe to assume that they certainly didn’t have ad-firm Ogilvy and Mather on hand to film their childhood as part of the first national campaign to signal the entry of controversial mining and metals giant Vedanta into the happiness market.

London-based Vedanta Resources is the holding company for a host of Indian and international companies like BALCO, Vedanta Aluminum, Sterlite, Sesa Goa, and Cairn India Ltd with annual revenues in excess of $11 billion. The company’s rapid expansion has attracted the ire of environmental activists and human rights groups like Amnesty International who have accused the company of exploiting indigenous communities — such as the Dongria Kondhs of Niyamgiri in Odisha — without due process.

The company is also involved in litigation over a proposed university in Odisha, and a separate case in Chhattisgarh in which 45 labourers were killed in a construction accident in their BALCO plant in Korba. Company spokespersons have denied such allegations and say that the company has improved the lives of thousands of individuals through employment and social initiatives implemented by the Vedanta Foundation.
Telling its side of the story

Vedanta’s “Creating Happiness” campaign, according to company spokesperson Senjam Raj Sekhar, is part of an “initiative to tell our side of the story”; yet the hostile reception on blogs and social-media networks like Facebook and Twitter highlights the risks of exposing a tightly controlled corporate message to the anarchy of the internet.

Case in point: The television commercial starring Binno is merely the launch pad of the campaign, which also includes a film competition, in which media and mass communication students from 21 institutions across the country were invited to make three-minute films on the company’s various Corporate Social Responsibilty projects. An online campaign appears to have influenced film director Shyam Benegal and film artiste Gul Panag‘s decision to withdraw from the competition jury.

Activists have even started a viral “Faking Happiness” campaign in an attempt to highlight Vedanta’s alleged malpractices.

Read more here

 

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