Foil Vedanta members’ research exposed this story on the extent of corporate influence on the UK government over the contentious Cairn-Vedanta deal in 2010. The British government show no regard for Indian and Sri Lankan people as they push Vedanta on them using diplomatic force.
The Cairn-Vedanta deal is currently being investigated in the Indian Supreme Court for claims that Cairn Energy should have offered first right of refusal on it’s shares in Cairn India to Indian national oil and gas company ONGC according to a clause in their deal. The Indian exchequer could have profited by £11.6 billion (1 lakh crore or 1 trillion Rupees) if this had been done. The case claims the deal was made on ‘extraneous considerations’ and has not benefited the Indian people.
Since the Vedanta takeover Cairn India has been drilling in Sri Lankan waters directly beside the Bar Reef Marine Sanctuary, a pristine coral reef which is thought to be the most biodiverse area off India’s coasts. They have been using a fifth generation Japanese drilling ship (the Chikya Hakken) which was damaged in the Sendai tsunami.
for more on Cairn India see powerbase’s profile.
Secret state lobbying for Scots energy giant
Rob Edwards. from Sunday Herald, 20 May 2012
Westminster secretly lobbied the Indian government to give the go-ahead to a disputed multi-billion pound deal with a leading Scottish oil company, internal emails passed to the Sunday Herald reveal.
UK government officials, briefed “over dinner” by Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy, offered to “polish” and send a letter drafted by the company. At a lunch, they also had a quiet word urging a key Indian government minister to back the deal.
On Monday 5th November a fly ash pipe burst, pouring toxic ash over more than 15 acres of farm land at Vedanta Aluminium’s Jharsuguda aluminium complex in Odisha. In response women and local farmers from Kurebaga Panchayat gathered outside the gates of the factory demanding compensation for the land that had been destroyed. 38 were later arrested after the police were called by the company and evicted them from the spot. Many of those affected are displaced people moved from their farms and villages by the giant factory complex which is estimated to have displaced 10,000 people without compensation or rehabilitation.
Rather than apologising to villagers, Vedanta released a statement claiming that local ‘scrap mafia’s’ had repeatedly stolen the pipe, and that just the day before some ‘miscreants’ had been found trying to cut it. As a result Vedanta said they had increased their ‘security forces’ to guard the pipe. Vedanta employ an estimated 100 private security guards around the factory and surrounding displaced villages, who play a role in preventing dissent amongst local people and workers as well as ‘protecting’ the factory.
This is only the latest in a series of pollution incidents at the plant. In August this year fly ash was found dumped in reserve (protected) forest. In June fly ash rained down on local people causing asthma attacks and burning sensation in the eyes. In response a group of locals demanded justice by blocking the local highway. In June 2009 another major fly ash incident affected the whole township of Jharsuguda. Continue reading