Orissa HC to hear Vedanta plea on Feb 2

Orissa HC fixed February 2 for adjudicating the petition filed by Vedanta Alumina Limited (VAL) challenging the decision of Center in rejecting its Stage-II bauxite mining in Niyamgiri Hills.

Last Updated: Jan 10, 2011, 20:35 PM IST

Cuttack: Orissa High Court on Monday fixed February 2 for adjudicating the petition filed by Vedanta Alumina Limited (VAL) challenging the decision of Center in rejecting its Stage-II bauxite mining in Niyamgiri Hills for
Lanjigarh Refinery.

Although, the matter came up for hearing before the Division Bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice Harjinder Singh Bhalla, the Bench adjourned the case to next month after hearing it partly.

The Bench is likely to go for a joint hearing after tagging all matters on the issue. Besides, the VAL, the Orissa Government too have filed separate petitions on the case while several PILs, including one by Lanjigarh Anchalika Vikash Parishad were also filed in the HC seeking to quash the October 22, 2010 notice of Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF).
Disallowing mining in Niyamgiri Hills of Kalahandi district, the MoEF had scrapped the six-fold expansion proposal of the refinery from one million tonne per annum capacity to six million tonne per annum capacity. The ministry had stopped sourcing raw material for Vedanta?s Lanjigarh
refinery from mines not having environmental clearance.

The ministry had even asked the Jharkhand government to ensure that mines from the state supplying raw material to Vedanta refinery get environmental clearance. The Center had ordered the Vedanta to immediately halt expansion work of the refinery project asking the company to fulfil a number of conditions before operating its existing alumina refinery.
It was alleged that Vedanta was in illegal possession of 26 hectares of forest land and it was in an expansion mode to enhance its capacity to six million tonne from existing one million tonne capacity.

PTI