Vedanta’s #CSR : Resettlement ‘prison’ and false arrests at Lanjigarh #WTFnews


18th June, 2013.  This report comes direct from members of the Foil Vedanta team on the ground in Niyamgiri:

Vedanta’s resettlment colony at Lanjigarh with Niyamgiri

Vedanta Raj- Age of New License Raj and Draconian Policing

On 7th June 2013, a four member team visited the Vedanta re-settlement colony in Lanjigarh, known as Vedanta Nagar, to interview a few people people settled there. As soon as we entered the colony, Vedanta’s Public Relations Officer – Mr. Siddharth Behera, and the Associate officer in charge of the colony – Mr Srikant Bohidar appeared riding a motorcycle, and started questioning us about what we were doing there and who we were. One of our team was a journalist with a press card, when he showed this one of the officers looked particularly worried. He started calling up higher level officials.

 

While two of us talked to these purveyors of ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’, the other two rushed to the house of Tula Dei whom we knew from before. Tula Dei and her family, from Sindhabahili village, was among the people who had vehemently resisted Vedanta when the refinery was being built in Lanjigarh, for which twelve villages were cleared. She and her family had refused to vacate their house and did not succumb to the pressure and force tactics applied by Vedanta. When we met Tula Dei, she informed us that they had to ultimately vacate their house and accept Vedanta’s resettlement package, as the poisonous smoke and dust from the refinery were affecting her and her families’ health and made it impossible to live there any longer. She complained how she still had not received her ‘patta’ and land document papers from Vedanta, and they had been not given the promised settlement money. She also informed us that her husband had been arrested by the police in January 2013, and has been in jail since then. She had not been provided any details by the police regarding what charges her husband had been arrested on –

Tula Dei resisting eviction from her old house

I have no idea why they arrested my husband. The police and lawyers do not give us any details. False charges must have been framed against my husband. They are constantly trying to intimidate and harass us. Whenever we raise our voice in protest, they frame some charge and arrest a family member. Our family’s livelihood has been completely destroyed. Vedanta has ruined our lives ever since it came here. Fear and injustice is all we have known since then”

 

As we were taking this interview with our video camera, the Vedanta official who was questioning us earlier, arrived at Tula Dei’s house, along with another CSR official. When we asked them why Tula Dei had not received any land documents yet, one of them replied saying,

 

These people came on the third and last phase, so their documentation is delayed. It should arrive in a week’s time. Initially they had resisted the company, but later on because of dust and other problems, they decided to accept the company’s package”.

 

This official however, denied having mentioned ‘dust and other problems’ when we interrogated him just seconds later about villagers around the refinery and resettled villagers, having TB and other diseases, —- “they drink too much, it has nothing to do with the refinery or pollution”, he said. We then asked them if we could get some documents about the rehabilitation process, at which we were told that we need to go to the Lanjigarh office for that.

 

Vedanta Aluminium‘s Jharsuguda resettlement colony

At this point, two of us left while the other two continued to face questions from the two employees of Vedanta. Siddharth Behera – who had introduced himself as the Public Relations Officer (PRO) for Vedanta began asking questions about the press card, calling the TV station to check that he really was a journalist. When this was confirmed he suggested they came to the Vedanta Aluminium office to speak to another PR Officer – Mr Bhagwan Hota. Later on we discovered that Mr Siddarth was not a company spokesperson but a local agent.

 

The other two of us were escorted to the bus stop outside Vedanta Nagar. We were prevented from talking to or meeting any more people in the resettlement colony. At the Lanjigarh bus-stop, two more senior employees of Vedanta’s CSR division arrived, making the number of people who had so far questioned us to four. While we were speaking to them, one of the senior employees took our photographs. They wanted us to show them our identity proofs and bombarded us with all sorts of questions regarding the purpose of our visit. In the end, one of the senior officials said, “Write a positive report, ok?”.

 

Lanjigarh refinery

This incident is indeed outrageous. Four CSR officials had come to question us within less than half an hour of our presence in the rehabilitation colony. Vedanta’s CSR is the establishment of a heinous system of surveillance and intimidation. The resettlement colony is like a fortress, where any ‘outsider’ presence is strictly monitored. This shows how scared Vedanta is of stories of its human rights violations and dubious rehabilitation reaching out to the public. This incident clearly elucidates that CSR officials of Vedanta are the company’s puppets, whose ‘responsibility’ is to police people, to hide the truth and to monotonously narrate lies of “Mining happiness”, of success stories of ‘development’ and ‘progress’. The resettlement complex is indeed Vedanta’s ‘colony’, where it has shamelessly set up mechanisms of draconian policing —- a neo-colonial License Raj on people who lie in fear at the margins and in whose name we call for ‘development’.

Posted:  June 18th, 2013   

 

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.

Lets Vote- “Faking Happiness “- Spoof Ad Competition in reply to Vedanta’s ‘ Creating Happiness”


In today’s times when much of media is sold out to corporates, the only voices that show the truth of malpractices of various mining giants are a few activists and documentary filmmakers. Vedanta‘s strategy to organize a film competition on their ‘community initiatives’ is such a fool proof masking of their real face. By organizing such a film competition and sponsoring 114 students from top media and film schools in the country including FTII, Whistling Woods, Symbiosis, School of Convergence, MGR FTI, IIMC, Assam University, Xavier’s, Christ University, AAFT, ZIMA, Tezpur University, IP College and Ravenshaw to produce films on itself…Vedanta knows how to make opinions about itself and how to control the ‘could be’ voices of future.

With jury panel consisting of Shyam Benegal and Gul Panag , who have withdrwan now , the jury only has piyush pandey .

The ad you can see here

Objective- This campiagn is to UNMASK the TRUE FACE of corporates, which they tend to hide beautifully through their r CSR AD FILMS fool people, while on one hand they indulge in human rights violations on other hand they glorify their peice meal appraoch of CSR criminal corporations using these feel good advts, need to eb EXPOSED, and that what precisely the ” faking happiness’ campaign intends to do

You see an AD Print, Video which you feel is blatantly lying about their work and using it as an image building method, you make a spoof of that ad and send to us at

CATEGORIES

1. ad films

2printad

3. any other

The entries have be added in the sub pages here, each entry is in a page so you can like it and give a vote once,

In some cases wherein the entry cannot be embedded you need to go to the link, hence .. the entries by one person will be in one page and if you like anyone entries or more, you can vote in the comment

so lets rock and roll 🙂

The Entries are below

faking-happiness-nakul-sawhney

faking-happiness-coke-manasi-pingle

vedanta-faking-happiness-rizvi-amir-abbas-syed

vedanta-spoof-movie-sundeep-narwani-and-team

faking-happiness-animations-surya-shankar-dash

faking-happiness-animations-kamayani-bali-mahabal

faking-happiness-print-ads-rizvi-amir-abbas-syed

faking-happiness-fair-and-lovely-ad-shrungar

faking-happines-coco-cola-mohammad-zafar

faking-happines-crocodile-in-water-tiger-on-land-a-non-profit-equal-opportunity-collection

Vedanta told to get public nod in Orissa for expansion


English: Vedanta Nagar Lanjigarh

Image via Wikipedia

Vedanta Aluminium Ltd has been asked by the government to seek public consent afresh in Kalahandi district of Orissa as a precursor to getting environmental clearance for expanding its alumina refinery and power plant, a move the company wants to avoid as it seeks to get a plan that’s been stalled for two years moving again.

The company needs to comply with 70 points, including the public hearing on the expansion plan, shows a copy of the terms of reference (ToR) issued by the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) that Mint is in possession of.

Company officials are in talks with MoEF and the state pollution control board, seeking a waiver on public hearings on grounds that they were conducted twice before—in 2003 and 2009, said a Vedanta official who didn’t want to be named.

“The company has every document to show they are complying with all the points in the ToR (except for one),” the official said. “…they (Vedanta Aluminium) are telling them that the public hearing has already taken place, so another one is not needed. Besides, it will take a long time to convene another public hearing.”

The person said Vedanta is in dialogue with MoEF and the state pollution control board and may hear from them on the request soon.

Vedanta Aluminium, a subsidiary of the newly announced Sesa Sterlite, was asked to stop expanding its refinery in Lanjigarh from 1 million tonnes (mt) to 6 mt in October 2010 because of environmental concerns. The following year, the Orissa high court quashed an appeal filed by the company and upheld MoEF’s decision.

Vedanta appealed to MoEF last month, asking it to reconsider giving it approval in the light of clearances given to Jindal Power Ltd and Lavasa Corp. Ltd, a unit of Hindustan Construction Co. Ltd, both of which had been stalled over environmental objections.

As a part of the appeal in January, MoEF issued the new ToR on 2 February.

MoEF scientist P.L. Ahujarai, who signed the ToR, did not answer his phone and there was no response to an email asking whether Vedanta’s bid for a waiver will be considered.

“The company has received a ToR relating to technical and environmental details, and we are moving ahead with it,” said S.K. Roongta, managing director at Vedanta Aluminium. “The company is working on it.”

Roongta did not give further details.

The ToR states that 5% of costs must be earmarked for social work that the public will allocate as per its wishes.

“Five per cent of the total cost of the project should be earmarked for Enterprise Social Commitment based on public hearing. Item-wise details along with a time-bound action plan should be included,” according to the ToR.

It also calls on the company to file “issues raised at the public hearing with replies”, to the ministry.

“Probably the company is afraid they might not be lucky with a public hearing as there are powerful NGOs (non-governmental organizations) in eastern India who can sway opinions,” said an analyst in Mumbai, who didn’t want to be named in line with company policy.

Growth is critical for Vedanta Aluminium, burdened with a $4 billion (`19,640 crore) debt, as Sesa Sterlite tries to build itself into a resources giant.

Apart from environmental clearance, Vedanta Aluminium also needs to win a Supreme Court case that will allow it to mine bauxite in the Niyamgiri Hills in Orissa, said an analyst.

“Clearance from the environment ministry is definitely important, but more important is securing the bauxite mines,” said Sanjay Jain, senior vice-president (research) at Motilal Oswal Securities Ltd. “The environment clearance will have little relevance for their earnings as their cost of making alumina is very high as they have to bring bauxite from Balco (Bharat Aluminium Co. Ltd) and Gujarat. So, expanding alumina production while not having bauxite mines will have little utility.”

According to Jain, Vedanta’s cost of production for alumina is about $323 a tonne—nearly equal to the market price—and its already low margins will risk being further crimped at that price. That shows the urgency of getting the bauxite mines for captive use.

Article source: http://www.livemint.com/2012/02/28230237/Vedanta-told-to-get-public-nod.html?atype=tp

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