Vedanta resistance movement


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Vedanta resistance movement

  1. 1. Odisha
  2. 2. Introduction:  Vedanta Resources is a globally diversified natural resources mining company with interests in Zinc, Lead, Silver, Copper, Iron Ore, Aluminum, Power and Oil & Gas  It is also developing commercial power stations in India in Odisha and Punjab.
  3. 3.  In respect of bauxite mines at Lanjigarh, Odisha, public interest litigations were filed in 2004 by Indian NGOs led by the People's Union for Civil Liberties to the supreme court sub-committee regarding the potential environmental impact of the mines.  The company's operations in Niyamgiri Hills in Odisha, India that are said to threaten the lives of the Dongria Kondh people who populate this region.
  4. 4. The Issue:  Vedanta Alumina signed the joint venture agreement with the ‘Orissa Mining Corporation’ (OMC) in 2003 for developing bauxite mines at the Niyamgiri hill near Lanjigarh for use in its one-million-tonne alumina refinery being set up at a cost of Rs.4,000 crores.  The hill range is spread over 250 sq km and contains bauxite reserves of about 70 million tones.  The plant got in production by taking all clearances in 2005.
  5. 5.  The state opposition alleges that the company was yet to obtain forest clearance for its project as per the Forest Conservation Act, 1980.  The Environmental clearances revoked by ‘Ministry of Environment and Forests’ (MOEF) and the case is under jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India.
  6. 6. The Niyamgiri Movement:  In 1997, the then congress government agreed the hill top plateau of Niyamgiri should be mined for Bauxite, and by 2001, the BJD government was ready to lease the area to Vedanta.  An official agreement signed on the 5th of October 2004 between the Odisha Mining Corporation  It is a home to more than 8000 adivasis of “Kutiya, Dongrias and Jharniyas and Konds” who depends on the hills for their entire livelihood.
  7. 7.  Niyamgiri covers an area of 8000 and two rivers, 36 small streams originate and 602 types of Plants (more than 300 species of Herbs and Medicines).  Niyamgiri project will directly affect 20 villages with a population of about 10,000.  The Niyamgiri hills are also claimed to be an important wildlife habitat in Eastern Ghats of India as per a report by the Wildlife Institute of India.
  8. 8.  In 2002 Lingaraz Azad, Raj Kishore, Kunuda, Prem, Satya and Siddharth Naik went to explore the possibility of starting a movement.  On 8th June 2003 Odisha CM laid the foundation The agitators surrounded the villages and nobody was let outside or inside, 10th June the foundation was broken.  3000 acres of Land have already been acquired by Vedanta and five villages (Kinari, borbhatta, Kapagada, Badugada and Kordiwar) have been forcefully evicted.
  9. 9.  Oct 1, 2005- People’s tribunal committee had come to Lanjigarh. They reported that mining should be stopped  18 June. 2008- Those that had given their land and were supposed to get compensation but did not; got agitated and closed down the company.  The environment minister Jairam Ramesh had withdrawn the license given to Vedanta even after Supreme Court granted the mining with regard to the MOEF signed with Vedanta.  In January 2009, thousands of locals formed a human chain around the hill in protest at the plans to start bauxite mining in the area.
  10. 10. Government’s Perspective:  As per OMC agreement with Vedanta was limited only to mining at Niyamagiri hills, which is sub judice currently. Regarding supply of bauxite from other sources, it is the look out of the government and Vedanta. It is unable to supply the bauxite as there is no other mines available for mining.  VAL pointed out that the MOU included supply of additional bauxite apart from that lying in the Niyamgiri mines. So it was incumbent on the state to arrange the material from other sources. However, the state has not made any attempt in this regard though it possessed more than half of the country’s bauxite reserves.
  11. 11. Vedanta’s Perspective:  Vedanta set up one-million-tonne alumina refinery at a cost of Rs.4,000 crores near Lanjigarh as per the MoU signed by Vedanta and state government. Nearly 7000 people are employed in this project.  In this project 121 families were physically displaced. These have all been resettled in the Niyamgiri Vedanta Nagar Resettlement Colony, with 76 family members being employed with the company as permanent employees.  Vedanta is involved in various CSR activities in nearby villages of Lanjigarh
  12. 12. Court Verdict:  The supreme court of india in 2007 stated that If Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd. (SIIL) is agreeable to the a fore stated Rehabilitation Package then they shall be at liberty to move this Court by initiating a proper application. This Court is not against the Project in principle. It only seeks safeguards by which we are able to protect nature and sub serve” development”. This in accordance with The Indian Forest Act, 1927 and The Companies Act, 1956.  As per the CEC report The Supreme Court of India instructed Vedanta Aluminium Limited to stop its expansion on the ground that it has not fulfilled the environmental clearances in 2011. This is in accordance of violation of Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.
  13. 13.  n 2008, the Supreme Court gave clearance to phase-II of Vedanta's mining project at Niyamgiri. But in August 2010,the Ministry of Environment and Forests withdrew the clearance.  On 18th April 2013, the Supreme Court had empowered the village councils to decide on the project in order to protect their customary and religious rights. The rejection of Vedanta’s proposal to dig in the Niyamgiri hills came after 12 village councils of Dongriya Kondh tribal groups rejected the project in their traditional forestlands.