New Delhi: A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court led by chief justice K.G. Balakrishnan has suggested that Vedanta Alumina Ltd (VAL) undertake some confidence building measures to affirm its commitment to relief and rehabilitation.
The judges, stressing on the principle of sustainable development, presented VAL an option of filing the affidavit before taking up the issue of mining in Niyamgiri hills in Kalahandi, Orissa.
The court suggested that VAL’s holding company, Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd, file an affidavit with three undertakings: commit to pay Rs50 crore as a security deposit to the court; agree to pay 5% of the net profit accruing from all its mining activities or Rs10 crore, whichever was greater, towards tribal development and environmental safeguards; and present a report on employment opportunities that the project would generate.
A report of the central empowered committee, which advises the court on environmental matters, has said the area is rich with 73 million tonnes of bauxite.
“The government is selling out. This case would set a bad precedent to other such projects that could adversely affect the environment,” said a social activist who did not want to be named.