Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests reports criticise Vedanta

India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests commissioned a study of possible violations by Vedanta Alumininum (controlled by the UK’s Vedanta Resources plc) at its Lanjigarh mine and refinery site in Orissa. The three-person expert team made two field trips to the area in the second part of January, and their reports have just been released.
Researcher Roger Moody comments that “The report by Dr Usha Ramanathan is outstanding for its conciseness, boldness and unequivocal rejection of the project as a whole.”
CCF’s report
Dr Usha Ramanathan’s report
Dr Vinod Rishi’s report
Miner Vedanta flouting Indian rules: minister
India’s environment minister has accused London-based resource giant Vedanta of violating local laws with a mining project in an area held sacred by a tribal group.
‘Vedanta infringed clearance guidelines’
The high profile Lanjigargh bauxite mining by Orissa Mining Corporation, and involving the Sterlite-Vedanta group in Orissa, got caught in greater controversy with a committee of the Union environment and forests ministry raising serious questions about the violation of the rights of primitve tribal groups, other tribals, violation of forest laws as well as infringement of the terms of conditions laid down by the Supreme Court while permitting the mining. The ministry accepted the report after its Forest Advisory Committee deliberated upon the report and recommended several actions.
Vedanta flouted forest conservation norms, says report
Vedanta Aluminium has violated forest conservation guidelines and has failed to follow the Forest Rights Act in letter and spirit at a proposed bauxite mine project in the Niyamgiri Hills of Orissa, according to a report submitted by a three-member team to the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
Orissa takes on Centre, says Vedanta projects within law

In sharp contrast to the Centre’s assertion that Vedanta Resources’ proposed mining project in Orissa’s Niyamgiri hills violated green and tribal norms, the state said the Anil Agarwal-led group’s plans were within the ambit of the law. In two separate letters this month to officials of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, Orissa’s Forest and Environment Department Special Secretary BP Singh said the proposed mining by Vedanta Resources jointly with Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) is not in violation of “any Act”.
Will the Indian Ministry of Tribal Affairs now defend the rights of Dongaria Kondhs or favour Vedanta?

The plan by London-based Vedanta Resources to mine bauxite in Orissa—a key part of a giant aluminium complex which the company is building in the mineral-rich eastern state—could be jeopardised if the environment ministry accepts the findings of a report by a government-appointed committee. Environment minister Jairam Ramesh says the report will be sent to the ministry of tribal affairs for its inputs. Mr Ramesh says he is neither for nor against the project sought to be implemented by Vedanta, owned by tycoon Anil Agarwal, and would be guided entirely by the report and the facts on the ground. But officials at the ministry of environment & forests (MoEF) told India’s Economic Times that the government is deeply concerned about some of its findings, which has among other things pointed out that Vedanta’s mining activities in Niyamgiri in Orissa would have an adverse impact on the local Dongria Kondh tribe, which is classified as a primitive tribal group. The government, or at least the environment ministry, appears unconvinced by a strong letter of support sent to it by the Orissa government last Thursday supporting the project and asking for a final clearance.