Niyamgiri mining case: SC defers hearing for 2 weeks

Bhubaneswar: Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) will have to wait for two more weeks for Supreme Court’s hearing on Niyamgiri mines in Kalahandi district, as the apex court on Monday deferred hearing for two weeks due to non-submittal of affidavit by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
The court was to hear on Odisha Mining Corporation’s (OMC) application against the withdrawal of environmental clearance to Niyamgiri.
The Ministry has sought two weeks time to submit its affidavit pertaining to the bauxite mining of Niyamgiri hills. The apex court has asked both the state and central governments to submit affidavits on the implementation of the Forest Conservation Act in the mining area.
It may be noted that in 2008 the apex court had given permission to the Sterlite India Company of the Vedanta group for diversion of 660.749 hectares of forestland of Niyamgiri hills . But the MoEF had refused stage-II forest clearance for bauxite mining on August 24, 2010 from the Niyamgiri hills following allegations against the company for violating the Forest Rights Act in the area.
This prompted OMC to suit a file against the withdrawal of forest clearance.
The SC hearing draws significance for VAL to run its Lanjigarh refinery after the unit was shut on December 5 citing raw material crunch.