Orissa govt approaches SC on Vedanta university project

The Orissa government on Wednesday approached the Supreme Court challenging the High Court order, which held that land acquisition procedures for the proposed Rs 15,000 crore Vedanta university project were illegal.

Updated: Dec 15, 2010, 23:24 PM IST

New Delhi: The Orissa government on Wednesday
approached the Supreme Court challenging the High Court order,
which held that land acquisition procedures for the proposed
Rs 15,000 crore Vedanta university project were illegal.

The state government has filed an appeal against the
November 16 decision of the Orissa High Court which quashed
its land acquisition notification citing 17 issues.
The High Court had also directed Vedanta to return the
land awarded to them to their owners.

At least two PILs and six individual petitions were
filed in the High Court since 2007 challenging the state
government`s notification on the land acquisition procedures.

The petitions said that Land Acquisition Company rules,
1963 had not been properly followed.

The proposed multi-disciplinary university project
would have caused extreme debilitating impact on the eco
system as well as the local bio-diversity, the petitioners had
contended.
Congress leader Umaballav Rath had filed the first PIL
in the HC challenging the varsity project, which was envisaged
on 500 acres of temple land.

The petitioners had also questioned the status of the
company saying that it was not properly formed as per the
Company`s Act.

The High Court had cited 17 issues and held that land
acquisition procedure for Vedanta were illegal.

Accordingly, the High Court quashed the land acquisition
notifications and also the award proceedings in favour of the
company and directed them to return the land to the orginal
owners.

The petitioners had pointed out that the proposed
university project site, which was to come up near Puri about
60 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, was close to Balukhand
Konark Black Buck Sanctuary and a river.

They also objected to inclusion of a large chunk of
land belonging to Lord Jagannath temple in the proposed site.

Sterlite Foundation, a private limited company which
subsequently changed its name to Vedanta Foundation in 2004,
entered into an MoU with Orissa government on July 19, 2006 to
set up a university near Puri.

PTI