New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday asked Sterlite Industries India Ltd, or SIIL, the Orissa government and public sector undertaking Orissa Mining Corporation, or OMC, to file an affidavit that they will jointly form a special purpose vehicle, or SPV, and draft a constitution to facilitate its functioning by 16 May.
The court’s order reinforces its stance on the formation of an SPV to carry out rehabilitation and development in the area affected by Sterlite Industries India’s bauxite mining project in Orissa.
The matter came up on Friday before the special forest bench—comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and justices A. Pasayat and S.H. Kapadia—which decides on matters relating to diversion of forest land for industrial projects. Justice Pasayat said, “We have laid down the parameters. As of today we need to know if the parties have followed our directions. If there is any violation we’ll look into it.”
In November, the court had rejected approval for SIIL associate company Vedanta Alumina Ltd’s Rs4,000 crore bauxite mining project in the Niyamgiri hills of eastern Orissa. Both are wholly owned subsidiaries of London-based Vedanta Resources Plc., controlled by Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal. The court categorically said Vedanta Alumina could not be part of the project.
The court, however, had given SIIL an escape route: a fresh application, provided it bore the financial costs of social and environmental safeguards and form an SPV comprising the three parties that would set aside 5% of net profits from mining activities or Rs10 crore, whichever is higher, for tribals in the area. “SPV is a new principle in the environmental laws of our country, introduced by the judgement. It is difficult to predict the outcome of such new judicial principles. But it will be interesting to see how the SPV in this case will roll out,” said a Supreme Court advocate, Bhupendra Yadav.