EN­VI­RON­MENT:

VEDANTA UN­DER FIRE

Business Today - - CONTENTS - - E. Ku­mar Sharma

IS VEDANTA’S STERLITE Cop­per smelter plant in Tu­ti­corin (English for Thoothukudi) re­spon­si­ble for the cancer in the re­gion? Is rain­fall de­fi­cient be­cause of the plant? Sterlite CEO, P. Ram­nath in­sists he has data to the con­trary. On May 22, Sterlite hit head­lines when more than 10 peo­ple died in clashes as pro­test­ers de­mand­ing the plant’s clo­sure turned vi­o­lent.

Vedanta is not new to run-ins with en­vi­ron­men­tal groups and reg­u­la­tors. In Septem­ber 2009, work­ers died when a chim­ney col­lapsed at its alu­minium smelter com­plex in Korba, Ch­hat­tis­garh. Then there were protests in Odisha’s Niyam­giri Hills by the tribal pop­u­la­tion over plans to source baux­ite; and yet again in 2012 over al­le­ga­tions of il­le­gal iron ore min­ing in Goa. The larger point here is that in In­dia, the need for cheap min­ing and de­vel­op­ment re­quire­ments will al­ways be in con­flict with en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues. And the In­dian gov­ern­ment has re­ally not fig­ured out how to deal with it, al­though it of­ten tilts to­wards de­vel­op­ment at the cost of the en­vi­ron­ment.

Vedanta’s Sterlite Cop­per smelter plant in Tu­ti­corin

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