UK apex court to take call on Vedanta case

The Hindu Business Line - - FRONT PAGE - VIDYA RAM

Bri­tain’s Supreme Court will de­cide if over 1,800 Zam­bian vil­lagers can take Vedanta and its Zam­bian sub­sidiary, Konkola Cop­per Mines, to court in the UK over al­le­ga­tions re­lat­ing to the pol­lu­tion of a river there.

Lower courts had pre­vi­ously up­held the ju­ris­dic­tion of the UK courts in the case, which Vedanta has ap­pealed all the way to the Supreme Court. The is­sue will be heard on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day, with a de­ci­sion ex­pected by April.

The vil­lagers, rep­re­sented by UK law firm Leigh Day, say that their wa­ter sources and farm land have been con­tam­i­nated by KCM’s cop­per min­ing op­er­a­tion over the past 15 years, re­sult­ing in health prob­lems and harm to crops.

The vil­lagers al­lege that both Vedanta and KCM were aware of the dis­charge of harm­ful ef­flu­ent into the wa­ter­ways, which the vil­lagers used as their pri­mary source of clean wa­ter for drink­ing, bathing, cook­ing, clean­ing, and other pur­poses, and point to stud­ies — in­clud­ing a 2014 Zam­bian gov­ern­ment re­port — that noted high lev­els of tox­i­c­ity.

De­tails p18

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