Vedanta’s Orissa projects are on schedule: Agarwal

April 26th, 2008 - 11:11 pm ICT by admin  

Bhubaneswar, April 26 (IANS) NRI industrialist and chairman of Britain’s Vedanta Resources Anil Agarwal Saturday said all projects of the group in Orissa were on schedule. “All projects in Orissa are on schedule. We will work for the benefit of the state,” he told reporters after talks with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and senior state government officials here.

He met Patnaik at a crucial time when Vedanta’s projects in the state are facing opposition from residents who say they will not give up their land for industrialisation.

The Anil Agarwal Foundation, promoted by Agarwal, is setting up a multi-disciplinary world-class Vedanta University near the Konark-Puri marine drive with an investment of Rs.150 billion ($3.75 billion) in phases.

Vedanta Alumina, part of the Vedanta Resources (Sterlite) Group, is building an alumina refinery with an investment of $800 million in the state’s Kalahandi region.

It is also building an aluminium smelter project costing Rs.70 billion in Jharsuguda district.

“Our refinery project in Lanjigarh is one of the best projects in the world. We hope bauxite will be available for it,” Agarwal said.

He was hopeful of getting raw material and adequate water for the Lanjigarh project. “There is enough water in the Hirakud reservoir for industries and we will not touch a drop of water meant for farmers,” he said.

Regarding rehabilitation of the affected people, he said: “We will follow R&R (resettlement and rehabilitation) policy of the Orissa government for all our projects.” He described Orissa’s R&R policy as the best in the country.

Speaking of the progress of Vedanta University, Agarwal said in the first phase, the foundation stone for a medical college and a 600-bed hospital will be laid soon in the university campus.

“We will work towards giving 25 percent seats to the students from Orissa who will be taken on merit basis,” he remarked.

However, the projects still face criticism of several social groups. “Vedanta has already violated the law of the land by building plants in the state without valid environmental and forest clearances,” social activist and writer Sudhir Patnaik told IANS.

“The company has nowhere respected the natives of the land. Profits and only profits are the prime motive of the company wherever it goes,” he added.

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