Road blockade staged demanding raw material for Vedanta’s alumina plant

Bhawanipatna: A 12-hour block-level strike called by locals today in protest against the closure of Vedanta alumina refinery at Lanjigarh hit normal life in parts of Kalahandi district.

The dawn-to-dusk strike was observed by residents of Lanjigarh area, who were protesting against closure of the refinery in the absence of bauxite security.

“Thousands of labourers are engaged in plant work and are earning Rs 5,000 to Rs 15,000 per month. They are worried about their livelihood. Closure of Vedanta refinery at Lanjigarh will leave the labourers unemployed,” Chandra Pesnia, President of Lanjigarh Labour Union, said.

The demonstrators appealed to the government to provide them immediate source of livelihood or arrange bauxite source for the company.

The protesters also submitted a memorandum addressed to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik through Pitambar Bhoi, tehsildar of Lanjigarh.

Last week, after the company issued a statement on the closure of the plant citing lack of raw material security, locals had submitted a memorandum to the chief minister urging him to provide alternative mining source within the state.

MLAs in the district met Patnaik and apprised him about the matter, Pesnia said.

Rajendra Singhdeo, Zilla Parishad member, said that the plant was the only one at Kalahandi and provided livelihood to 10,000 people. “Therefore, we request the government to intervene and prevent closure of the refinery.”