Orissa High Court rejects Vedanta expansion plea

In what is seen as a major setback to Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL), the Orissa High Court today turned down the company's plea for a six-fold expansion of its 1MTPA alumina refinery in Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district in Orissa.

The company had filed a petition in the court on 12 November, for quashing the union ministry of environment and forest (MoEF)'s order and letting the company go ahead with its expansion plan. In the petition, the company, had said that MoEF had denied the expansion mainly on the ground that public hearing for the project was held after work got under way.

According to VAL, the main expansion work had started only after the public hearing.

The company had been charged with continuing the project without environmental permits.

Upholding the order of the MoEF, the High Court directed the Anil Agarwal-controlled company to seek fresh clearance for regularisation of the expansion.

Besides,  Vedanta, eight tribal organisations of Lanjigarh had also filed joint public interest litigation (PIL) in the HC against the centre's decision to halt the expansion of the refinery, in which they stated that denial of permission to the refinery project would affect the livelihood of local people who were directly or indirectly dependent on the expansion project.