Bad company

Dubious environmental record

Vedanta's use of natural resources has raked up many controversies. While deposing before the Central Empowered Committee (CEC), a monitoring body set up by the Supreme Court on forest matters, the company had delinked its alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Orissa's Kalahandi district and the associated bauxite mining at Niyamgiri Hills. The company said that it would shift the refinery to non-forest land and would thus require environmental clearance.

Based on that contention, Vedanta got environment clearance from MoEF. The ministry did clarify that the source of bauxite for the refinery would be the Niyamgiri bauxite mine, which means conversion of forestland in Niyamgiri Hills for non-forest purpose. However, Niyamgiri Hills fall under Schedule V which prohibits transfer of lands inhabited by tribals to non-tribals. Thus, mining could only be done if MoEF reclassifies the area as non-forestland, meaning displacement of tribal communities and environmental degradation.

CEC objects to it, as refinery and mining activity in Niyamgiri area will cause environmental degradation. There are even allegations that Vedanta started construction work without requisite clearances and by distorting the facts to its convenience.

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