High Court Challenges MOU with Vedanta Alumina
Cuttack, Nov. 19 : The Orissa High Court has issued notice to state
government on a PIL challenging the validity of an MOU between state-owned
Orissa Mining Corporation and private sector Vedanta Alumina Ltd for
a joint venture for bauxite mining in Kalahandi district.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Sujit Burman Roy and Justice
Laxmikanta Mohapatra yesterday asked the state government to file
its reply within two weeks with details about the deal.
The PIL was filed by a Bhawanipatna-based lawyer alleging that norms
of the forest conservation act had been violated by the company. It
also violated the apex court's directions on leasing tribal dominated
mining areas to non-tribal people.
The petition further pointed out that the proposed alumina plant to
be set up in Lanjigarh would destroy the environment and affect the
ecological balance of the area. It urged the court to issue direction
for a thorough probe into the deal.
The MOU had kicked-off a political storm in the state as the opposition
demanded cancellation of the agreement and a CBI inquiry into the
A large number of opposition legislators had also sent a petition
to the President earlier this month alleging that the private company
had began construction work by clearing forests though the Centre
was yet to give forest and environmental clearance for the project.
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