International NGOs attempting to derail the development process in orissa – Vedanta

Vedanta Alumina Refinery at Lanjigarh has been built with the state of the art technology and the first Alumina refinery in the country and among few in the world having successfully implemented Zero Discharge System.

Online PR News – 19-February-2010 – – Vedanta Alumina Refinery at Lanjigarh has been built with the state of the art technology and the first Alumina refinery in the country and among few in the world having successfully implemented Zero Discharge System. The environmental measures adopted in the plant with respect to Air and Water Pollution is among the best and performance of the same is being regularly monitored by State pollution Control Board (SPCB). Based on Vedanta’s commitment towards Environmental Protection and Socio-Economic Development of the area, SPCB has renewed its Consent to Operate for 2 years instead of normal 1 year i.e valid upto March 2011. Vedanta’s initiatives for Zero Discharge, Zero Waste and Zero Harm is appreciated at all level and Vedanta’s is committed to become the first Alumina Refinery in the world to achieve this goal very soon.

Today, water and energy consumption at VAL refinery is the lowest in the country and is a proof of Vedanta’s commitment towards environmental protection .The allegation made by Action Aid has already been checked by top world recognized institutions like Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and find no substance in to it.
Regarding leakage- during initial trial runs only in 2007-08, we would like to clarify that no caustic effluent was ever discharged in to the river. On investigation by SPCB and expert team mentioned above, it was established that there was small seepage from the joint between earthen dyke wall and overflow pipes in Red Mud Pond which was collected and recycled back within the bounded area of Red Mud Pond for which provision has been kept in the design of Red Mud Pond by Indian Institute of Science from the beginning.

Vedanta strongly denies any allegations of pollution of the environment in Lanjigarh and of violation of human rights. Vedanta remains fully committed to pursuing all its investments in a responsible manner, respecting the environment and human rights and adopting the best corporate social responsibility standards practices.

Vedanta sustainable development strategy, known as the ‘Vedanta Way’ is all encompassing and comprises the following four principal elements:
• Environmental Stewardship: Respect for nature, enhanced resource conservation and use of environment friendly technology are embodied in our working,
• Nurturing People: People are our key assets. We are committed to build a flexible, flat and learning organization with an engaged and high performing work force. We believe in nurturing and mentoring leaders from within and providing opportunities for growth based on meritocracy, performance and integrity,
• Health and Safety: We are committed to providing a safe, secure and healthy workplace for all employees by using the best technology and practices, and
• Empowering Communities: Communities are integral to our business. We are committed to enhancing the quality of life of the communities near our operations and creating self sustaining communities. We work to gain and nurture our social license to operate in the host communities.

It is only because of support from local community, Vedanta could establish an Alumina refinery after 25 years (last Alumina Refinery was built and commissioned by NALCO in 1986) in a record time of less than 3 years. With the successful commissioning of proposed expansion of Alumina Refinery and Aluminium Smelter at various location , Vedanta will be the third largest Aluminium Producer in the world.,

Indian Constitution has made enough safeguard in terms of Act Like PESA, special provision in constitution under Schedule V to protect and ensure development of tribal community. The issues raised by Action Aid regarding Dongaria Kondh and Mining Project were brought before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in IA Nos 1324 and 1474 in W P (C) 202 of 1995 and IA Nos 2081-2082 @ W.P (c) No 549/2007 and a judgement in favour of the project was given.

Kalahandi is one of the most backward and underdeveloped area in the country and known worldwide for years for ill things like Poverty, Hunger, Malnutrition, Drought, Malarial deaths, Cholera and diarrhea ‘s death, low literacy, lack of education and medical facilities even though it is one of richest resource district of Orissa having precious stones, granite, bauxite, limestone etc. Since, implement any large-scale mining operation presents wider environmental and public administrative challenges, this project was initiated by the Indian authorities themselves, having identified this most backward area of India as in need of significant economic investment and social development, as well as the most suitable location for such activities. By way of background, India's national planning authorities had identified a number of least developed districts of the country, of which Kalahandi is one, which were in need of substantial socio-economic investment. It must be appreciated that a majority of the population in the area where the project is situated lives below the poverty line.