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Issue 29
September , 2010
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MoEF contradicting its own order, says Vedanta in reply

Source: Yahoo News, Date: September , 2010

A fortnight after the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) served a show-cause notice on Vedanta Aluminium, asking why its existing one million tonne alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district in Orissa should not be closed down, the embattled company today replied back that the ministry was contradicting its own order.

After denying the stage II forest clearance for bauxite mining on Niyamgiri hilltop last month, the ministry on August 31 had served two separate show-cause notices on the company. The notices served to Vedanta's Director (business development) and Chief Operating Officer of Lanjigarh refinery asked why environmental clearance to the 1 MTPA refinery issued in 2004 should not be revoked under Section 5 of Environment Protection Act, 1986.

The company was asked why direction for closure of the 1 MTPA refinery should not be issued. The notice also said the environmental clearance accorded to the company for setting up refinery is legally invalid as it has used 26.123 hectares of village forest land within the refinery boundary. It said that the company has started expansion from 1 MTPA to 6 MTPA without necessary environmental clearance as per provisions of EP Act, 1986. It also said the bulk of the bauxite used in the refinery are being sourced from 14 mines, 11 of which don't have environmental clearance.

In its reply sent to the ministry today, the company said the show-cause notice contradicted the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification of 2006. "According to EIA notification of 2006, any project proponent who wishes to undertake capacity expansion work without any change in process or technology does not require environmental clearance and the same applies to VAL as the company is using the same technology and processes for our capacity expansion work," the company said in its reply.

Mukesh Kumar, Chief Operating Officer, Vedanta Aluminium Limited, Lanjigarh, after submission of the reply to the MoEF said, "We have submitted our response along with all necessary supporting documents to both the show-cause notices issued by MoEF. Once again Vedanta would like to reiterate that no violations has been done by Vedanta on any account and Vedanta is a law abiding company and have high respect for the law of the land."

Meanwhile, trouble erupted at company's independent power plant in Jharsuguda district where its 600 megawatt power plant again started emitting flyash into air prompting loud protests from the local people. Last week the newly-commissioned plant was shut down by the local administration after it developed a technical snag soon. Though the plant was allowed to restart from Monday, it again developed the same problem today. A few locals even filed FIRs against the company today.

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