Orissa Chief Minister Admits Vedanta's Illegal Activities
Bhubaneshwar ó Thirty Five trees have been illegally felled by the
Vedanta Alumina Limited on "gramya jungle jogya" (village forest)
land in Lanjigarh tahsil of Kalahandi district.
The chief minister Mr Navin Patnaik conceded that the company had
illegally encroached over 4.21 hectares of village forest land.
Four encroachment cases have been booked against the company and a
fine of Rs 11,471 had been collected from the company for illegal
breaking of village forest land, he said while replying to a question
asked by Congress member, Mr Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra.
The lanjigarh tahsildar had booked four encroachment cases against
the company and realised a penalty of Rs 11,471 under the Orissa Prevention
of Land Encroachment Act, 1972. The divisional forest officer, Kalahandi
(South division) has also registered a forest offence case against
the Company under section 37 of Orissa Forest Conservation Act, 1972
which had been forwarded to the court of sub divisional judicial magistrate
Few Opposition members including, deputy leader of the Congress and
former law minister, Mr Narasinga Mishra were not satisfied with the
chief ministerís reply and wanted to know as to why the Vedanta authorities
were not arrested under section 379 of the IPC for encroaching the
forest land. They alleged that the government was deliberately shielding
the company authorities who were guilty of illegal felling of trees
and encroachment of village forest land.
The chief minister laid the affidavits filed by the state government
before the Central Empowered committee of Supreme Court. However,
the chief minister refused to table the affidavits of the Vedanta
Alumina, stating that it would not be appropriate to place these affidavits
on the floor of the Assembly.
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