HC rejects Vedanta hopes to expand refinery

Cuttack: The State High Court on Thursday refused to entertain a review petition of the Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL) for its refinery and captive power unit`s expansion bid at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra, which in July last year had rejected a writ petition of VAL, today also rejected the review petition of the company saying: ?It lacked merit?.

The bench in its July 19, 2011 verdict had suggested that the company, held guilty for violating the 2006 Environment Impact Assessment notification of the Centre, make a fresh proposal to obtain environmental clearance from the Union ministry of environment and forest for any further expansion of its existing units.

But instead of making fresh proposal, it chose a review petition urging the HC to reconsider the case in light of a memorandum issued by the Centre regularising the violations of defaulting parties with certain conditions. The Company had stated that the clause of condoning the violations has not been discussed in the earlier verdict.

Stating that they had applied to the Centre in response to the memorandum, VAL alleged that the Centre had taken a diametrically opposite view to its application in a discriminating and arbitrary manner in comparison to other applicants.

VAL in August 2007 had applied for expansion of its Lanjigarh-based existing refinery capacity from 1 to 6 MTPA and captive power plant from 75 to 300 MW. But pending environmental clearance from MoEF, the Company went ahead with construction work for its six-fold refinery and four-fold power plant expansion proposal.