HC notice to Centre on Vedanta issue

Cuttack: Hearing the petition filed by the Vedanta Alumina Limited (VAL), the Orissa High court on Monday served notice to the Centre over capacity expansion of VAL’s refinery and captive power plant at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi.

In its notice, the court asked the Center whether it would act on the reapplication of Vedanta Alumina Ltd. (VAL) for environment clearance.

“The court has asked the Centre to decide on the matter on its merit. The court has fixed the next hearing after three weeks i.e, February 2,” petitioner’s counsel Manoj Mishra said.

In October last year, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had scrapped the six-fold expansion proposal of the refinery from one mtpa capacity to six mtpa capacity for not having environmental clearance.

It too had scrapped its expansion proposal of the captive power plant from 75 MW to 300 MW. It was alleged that Vedanta was in illegal possession of 26 hectares of forest land. Later on 16th November, the MoEF had notified that a reapplication for environmental clearance would be acceptable after which the VAL authorities applied accordingly.

However, the London-based company is yet to receive any communiqué from the ministry.

Meanwhile, the court today fixed February 2 for adjudicating the petition challenging the decision of Center in rejecting its Stage-II bauxite mining in Niyamgiri Hills.