Amnesty rejected our offer for engagement: Vedanta

Amnesty rejected our offer for engagement: Vedanta

New Delhi: Vedanta Resources on Tuesday questioned the Amnesty report saying allegations levelled in it against Lanjigarh refinery were based on “outdated document" and challenge the credibility of India’s regulatory framework.

“Vedanta has repeatedly offered engagement, including joint verification of allegations in eight villages and dialogue on every aspect of the Amnesty report, most recently in formal correspondence at the start of February 2010. But this offer of direct engagement has been rejected," the company said in a statement shortly after the release of the report.

Reacting to the allegations levelled against it by the Amnesty International in its report released on Tuesday, Vedanta said, “The report implicitly criticises a number of highly respected Indian governmental, regulatory and independent assessment organisations, including the Supreme Court and the state of Orissa, all of whom have reviewed, refined and endorsed the approach manifested by Vedanta."

The Amnesty report had alleged that Alumina mining in Orissa by Vedanta has affected the communities living around and led to violations of human rights.

Meanwhile, Orissa’s steel and mines minister Raghunath Mohanty told the news agency that “if any environment related or human right issue comes to the Orissa Government’s notice we will intervene in the matter."

Anil Aggrawal’s much-talked-about Rs4,500-crore Lanjigarh alumina refiner in Orissa’s backward Kalahandi district had hit a roadblock way back in 2004 when the environmentalists approached the Supreme Court on alleged irregularities and violation of statutory provisions.

The Lanjigarh mining project would be operated by a joint venture, the south-west Orissa Bauxite Mining Corporation, involving Sterlite India, which holds 74% and the state-owned Orissa Mining Corporation has 26%. The Lanjigarh project consists of an alumina refinery and the Niyamgiri bauxite mining project.

Meanwhile, mines secretary Santha Sheela Nair said, “Nothing of that sort has come to our notice but regarding Niyamgiri mines we have not received any recommendations from the Orissa government yet."

“We are working on a new Act (Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act) which has a clause on sustainable development which will take care of all these issue like tribal rights and their welfare," Nair said.

“A range of activities directly associated with the Lanjigarh project are designed to significantly develop local educational, medical and other social infrastructure and further India’s global competitiveness," the Vedanta statement said.