Hundreds protest Vedanta refinery in Orissa

Bhubaneswar, Oct 30 (Calcutta Tube) Hundreds of tribals Saturday staged a demonstration in Orissa’s Kalahandi district seeking scrapping of Vedanta Resources’s alumina refinery in the region, a protest leader said.

‘The tribal men and women, armed with their traditional weapons, marched near Lanjigarh town shouting slogans against the company,’ Lingaraj Azad, a leader of Niyamgiri Surakhya Samittee (forum to protect Niyamgiri hills), told IANS.

‘The central government has already denied mining permission. Therefore, there is no reason why the company will continue its refinery here,’ he said.

Siddharth Nayak, president of Kalahandi Sachetana Nagarik Manch, said: ‘We don’t want Vedanta refinery in our area. It is polluting our environment. It must be scrapped.’

The officials of the company, however, said the project is creating employment opportunities and contributing to the economic growth of the region.

Earlier this month, the union environment and forests ministry refused to allow the Vedanta Aluminium Limited the expansion of one million tonne per annum refinery in Lanjigarh area to six million tonne and captive power plant to 300 megawatts from 75 megawatts.

Despite opposition from locals, however, it allowed the company to maintain status quo and continue operation of its one million tonne refinery.

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