… and urges broader campaign against “criminal” company
For the past six years, UK-listed Vedanta Resources has been castigated by Adivasi (Indigenous Peoples) groups, environmentalists and human rights organisations, for numerous alleged violations of Indian law. Hardly a month has passed when accusations of illegality – ranging from land encroachment to pollution, bribery and even murder – haven’t exercised campaigners around India and as far a-field as the UK, Norway and the USA. The bulk of these accusations centre on Vedanta’s operations in the Lanjigarh district of Orissa, where the company operates an alumina refinery and covets part of the adjacent Nyamgiri hill range – a potential source of millions of tonnes of high-grade bauxite, the raw material for aluminium. Now, a high-level enquiry, held by India’s central Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), has verified two of the most significant charges laid against Vedanta since 2003: that the company contravened both the Forest Conservation Act of 1980 and the Forest Rights Act (2006).
Meanwhile, although this “case” (in reality several different cases entwined together) is emblematic of the amorality at the heart of India’s most successful and diversified mining company, it is not necessarily the worst. The uniquely rapt critical attention paid to Vedanta’s operations in Lanjigarh has certainly been crucial; both for the (sometimes uneasy) international linkages it has enjoyed, and as a litmus test for just implementation of Indian Indigenous Peoples’ rights.
However, some of the energies applied to halting Vedanta’s activities in this small corner of Orissa might have been better deployed to some of the company’s egregious operations elsewhere….
Read more at http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=9991.