Court rejects Vedanta plea for alumina refinery expansion


Bhubaneswar : The Orissa High Court Tuesday dismissed Vedanta Aluminum Ltd’s petition to quash the central government’s notification stalling expansion of its refinery project in the state, a lawyer said.

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The environment and forests ministry last year stalled the expansion of Vedanta alumina refinery project in Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district from one million tonnes a year to six million tonnes capacity and of its captive power plant from 75 to 300 MW.

Vedanta had moved the court against the order. A high court bench of Chief Justice V. Gopala Gowda and Justice B.N. Mohapatra delivered the verdict at Cuttack, about 26 km from here, after hearing all parties concerned.

“The court dismissed the petition filed by Vedanta. It upheld the argument of the environment ministry,” Manoj Mishra, a lawyer associated with the case, told IANS.

The environment ministry had in August last year issued show cause notice to the company under the Environment Protection Act for undertaking construction without prior clearance under the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification-2006.

After examining the company’s response on the matter, the ministry in October cancelled the terms of reference issued in 2009.

The ministry then directed the company to maintain status quo at the site and asked it to ensure that no further construction was undertaken in respect of expansion of the project.

The ministry had also asked the state secretary for environment and forest to take legal action against the company under the provision of the Environment Protection Act for violation of Environmental Impact Assessment Notification-2006.

The ministry had also asked the company to furnish a fresh proposal to obtain environmental clearance for the proposed expansion.