Govt rejects allegations of biasedness against environ expert

The govt rejected allegations of biasedness against Usha Ramanthan, a member of Central team that had pointed out various alleged violations by Lanjigarh bauxite mining project, which is owned by mining major Vedanta in Orissa.

Updated: Apr 26, 2010, 19:43 PM IST

New Delhi: The government today rejected
allegations of biasedness against Usha Ramanthan, a member of
the Central team that had pointed out various alleged
violations by Lanjigarh bauxite mining project, which is owned
by mining major Vedanta in Orissa.

"Ramanathan was taken on the committee keeping in view
her expertise in working with government committees on human
rights issues," Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said in the
Rajya Sabha in reply to a written question.

So, imputation of biasedness against her has not found
to be substantiated, he added.

Ramesh said a committee consisting of Vinod Rishi, a
senior retired environment official besides Ramanthan was set
up to submit a report on alleged violation of the Forest
(Conservation) Act and the impact of the proposed mining
project on rights of tribals and wildlife conservation.

To another query he said the report of the committee
alongwith compliance of the conditions is under consideration
of the Ministry.

He, however, said the ministry has not received any
complaint against Vedanta of grabbing of forest land.

Vedanta had alleged "Ramanthan had past association with
Amnesty International and that she had gone out of the terms
of reference given to her by the environment minister... her
report was biased and should not be considered."

PTI