Tag Archives: Orissa Mining Corporation

Vedanta excluded again by Norwegian pension fund

Norwegian Council onEthics report 201516th March 2017.  In its latest report, released on 9th March 2017, the Norwegian Council of Ethics has again excluded Vedanta from the Government Pension Fund’s investment universe. The report is an indictment of Vedanta’s pattern of operation at four subsidiaries in Odisha, Chhatisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Zambia, finding “numerous reports of Vedanta’s failure to comply with government requirements” and concluding that “there continues to be an unacceptable risk that your company will cause or contribute to severe environmental damage and serious or systematic human rights violations.”

The Fund first divested from the company in 2007 after Vedanta Sterlite’s operations in India — Thoothukudi, Chhattisgarh and Orissa — and in other parts of the world were found to be in violation of accepted human rights and environmental norms.

The Pension Fund is “the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund with shares in 9,000 companies. . .[and] 1.3 percent of the entire world’s listed equity, giving the decisions it takes to drop or reinstate shareholdings or warn firms considerable weight among investors.”

Read the Council’s full assessment of Vedanta’s operations below. Continue reading

Eight days of protest on Niyamgiri

Dongria Kond leader Lado Sikaka speaking to press

Dongria Kond leader Lado Sikaka speaking to press

7th June, 2016. A seven day padyatra (foot march) involving occupants of up to 112 of the remote villages of the Niyamgiri hills ended on Sunday in Jaganathpur (Lanjigarh). The padyatra, led by the Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti and indigenous leaders from the villages, amplified demands to decommission Vedanta’s Lanjigarh refinery and celebrated the recent victory when the Supreme Court turned down Vedanta’s appeal to the decisive 2013 referendums which had put an end to mining plans on the mountain, as well as protesting the ongoing harassment from the company and the colluding state government and police forces. Various local and national Indian media covered the major event which ended in a large rally on World Environment Day, 5th June. The Orissa Post reported that:

Niyamgiri Padyatra 2016Coming down heavily on the government, Loda Sikaka, a member of the Samiti, said the government has unleashed a reign of terror on the foothills of Niyamgiri by deploying platoons of paramilitary forces and special operation group japans.

CRPF and SOG jawans, instead of checking Maoist activities and providing security to inhabitants, kill poor tribals under cover of encounters. They misbehave with tribal women, loot their houses, domestic animals and poultries, lodge false cases against innocent people by branding them Maoists. The most worrying factor us that the government is conspiring to snatch the livelihood of tribals by leasing out the hills to Vedanta for bauxite mining.

Niyamgiri Padyatra 2016The procession aimed at gaining public support against alleged anti-tribal activities of the government. It also aimed at urging the government to ensure sustainable development of the region while keeping the ecology intact.

The fighting is not limited to this specific region. It is a struggle of the humanity to protect nature and civilisation, Dadhi Pusika, another member of the Samiti, said.

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Boycott Vedanta sponsorship of JLF 2016

Boycott JLF flyer14th May 2016.  On May 21st the high profile Jaipur Literature Festival will take place in Southbank London with Vedanta as its key sponsor*. Foil Vedanta and Roundtable India have authored this open letter to the many renowned authors taking part, asking them to boycott the event in view of Vedanta’s criminal activities.** The letter has been signed by eminent writers, academics, activists and people directly affected by Vedanta’s criminal activities. A protest will also be held outside the event from 10am to 1pm at the Southbank centre, SE1 9PX, London.

*JLF have now removed Vedanta’s  logo from their website. Please see the original page with Vedanta logo on the internet archive.

** Please see the update to this post as authors are pulling out.

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Lanjigarh expansion Public Hearing disrupted by hundreds

Lanjigarh expansion public hearing July 201431st July, 2014. Yesterday public hearings on the six fold expansion of the Lanjigarh refinery, at the base of the Niyamgiri Hills in Odisha, were disrupted by around 1000 local people including Dongria and Kutia Konds virulently opposing the expansion.

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Some Konds waved their axes demanding that Vedanta (Sesa Sterlite) leave Lanjigarh immediately and citing their objection to the Niyamgiri mine (voiced unanimously in a precedent referendum last year). The Land Losers Association also registered their objection citing the false arrests and imprisonment they have suffered since losing their land to Vedanta without proper compensation or employment as Vedanta had promised. A recent report from a local activist detailed how 34 of the Land losers have died since they lost their land, attributing this to poverty and disease from the Lanjigarh plant.

See a film of the public hearing and the key points raised by opposing groups here.

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International protest call out! Vedanta AGM, Friday 1st August

Guardian front page August 2012Protest call out!                                 Join us at Vedanta’s AGM,                                                        Friday 1st August. 14:00-16:00        

The Lincoln Centre, 18 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3ED
Join us for our major annual demonstration at Vedanta’s AGM.
We will bring the defiant energy of communities fighting (and winning) against Vedanta around the world to London: from the miners associations, to the looted people of Zambia, and the Dongria Kond tribe.
Parallel demonstrations are already planned in Zambia, Odisha and Delhi in India on this international day of action. Please contact us on foilvedanta@riseup.net if you would like to plan a demonstration at any Vedanta affected community, or in solidarity ANYWHERE!
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Please find more info on the Delhi demonstration here.
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download leaflets for your community and spread the word here:

Bring drums, placards, banners and lots of energy!

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Lingaraj Azad – Niyamgiri movement leader and political activist

Lingaraj Azad7th April 2014. This interview with Lingaraj Azad, one of the key Dalit leaders of the Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, who won in their ten year struggle against Vedanta’s bauxite mine last year, and a close associate of Foil Vedanta, was published in the Nov-Dec 2013 issue of Samayaik Varta. This English translation has just been released.

Niyamgiri mountain and the movement’s leader Lingraj Azad

–  Shiuli Vanaja

Vedanta loses $10 billion investment at Niyamgiri and slips to FTSE 250

Celebrations of the Niyamgiri victory at Jarapa in August

Celebrations of the Niyamgiri victory at Jarapa in August

On Saturday 11th January the Ministry of Environment and Forests finally gave its statement formally rejecting permission for Vedanta’s Niyamgiri mine. In late December another major disaster hit the company when low share prices got them officially demoted from the FTSE 100 to the FTSE 250, removing their ‘blue chip’ status.

The failure of the Niyamgiri bauxite mining project is estimated by some to have cost Vedanta $10 billion in lost investments. Vedanta boss Anil Agarwal had built the Lanjigarh refinery at the foot of Niyamgiri mountain, and even expanded it sixfold, so sure was he that he would gain permission to mine despite the local inhabitants’ dissent. In November 2004 he even used a Financial Times article to mislead investors and create confidence, by claiming that he already had permission to mine the mountain.

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Niyamgiri unanimously rejects Vedanta!

Jarapa palli sabha

20th August, 2013. Yesterday Jarapa – the last of the twelve villages selected to vote on the proposed Niyamgiri mine – sealed the victory of the mountain and its people over Vedanta, as, like every other village, it unanimously opposed the mine. Niyamgiri has now spoken, and commentators agree that, though the Ministry of Environment and Forests has the final say on the resolution passed by the villages, they would face public outcry if they ignored the clear message of the Dongria.

Thanks to the hard work of activists at, and around, Niyamgiri, the precedent process, enabled by the Supreme Court, has been fully transparent, and the Odisha government’s attempts to use violence and manipulation to influence the verdict, have failed. As a result the world has witnessed the clarity and conviction of Niyamgiri’s people – from Dongria and Kutia Konds, to Dalits, Gaudas  and others who live off the bounty of the mountain – who realise that there is no richer life than having self sufficiency, community and freedom. In the palli sabhas Niyamgiri’s tribal people showed their wisdom and knowledge as they articulated their vision of development, and questioned the type of development prescribed for them by the state, which they do not recognise as progress. (More details below). Yesterday they celebrated their great victory with music, drums and dancing.

The Hindu newspaper quotes Lingaraj Azad, leader of Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti on the final palli sabha vote:

“As all gram sabhas have unanimously rejected mining in the hills despite the sinister design by the Odisha government and ruffians engaged by Vedanta, it is time Vedanta gracefully respected public sentiment and packed off,”

The Ministry of Environment and Forests now have two months to deliver the final verdict on the mine according to the April 18th Supreme Court ruling. After ten years of bribery, corruption, coercion and violence to try to get Niyamgiri’s bauxite, Vedanta has lost a $7 billion investment. This people’s victory should be a lesson to other communities fighting mega-projects who seek short term profit over the longevity of sustainable communities. With strength, solidarity and commitment you can win. As they say in India – “ladhenge jitenge!” – ‘We will fight, we will win!’.
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Niyamgiri 10 – Vedanta 0

9th August: Ten of twelve Palli Sabhas have now been held on the Niyamgiri hills and each one has unanimously rejected Vedanta’s proposed mine, and laid claim to the whole mountain range for their cultural and religious rights.

The latest meeting to be held was in Lakhpadar on 7th August where 97 voters virulently opposed the project and rejected the claims which the judge claimed were filed for compensation of Forest Rights. Local resident and movement leader Lodo Sikoka told the judge and the panel:

“Our God lives in open space. You keep your God locked with a key. We won’t leave Niyamgiri. If the Government, Political Party Leaders ask for it we will fight and shed blood. Why do the police, armed force destroy our fields and crops in the name of combing Maoists? Why are they entering our territory? Withdraw them immediately.”

A full report of the Lakhpadar palli sabha entitled – ‘Niyamgiri is our doctor we will die for niyamgiri but never allow for mining bauxite for Vedanta‘ can be found at Orissabarta.

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Anil Agarwal denies everything inside Vedanta AGM

While our loud and colourful demonstration was going on outside Vedanta’s Grosvenor square Annual General Meeting, activist shareholders joined other investors inside the AGM to hold Anil Agarwal and his board directly accountable for the company’s many crimes. This year the board seemed to have done some planning. Anil Agarwal had a list of standard answers which were rolled out in response to any question he was asked, and a Far Eastern investor took up the majority of the meeting, edging the dissident shareholders, who usually dominate the meeting, out.

Anil Agarwal is again attempting to paint himself as India’s saviour of poverty. When asked about Lanjigarh refinery and the scandal that is the attempted Niyamgiri mine he responded with a dreamy speech about believing that Niyamgiri was meant for Vedanta. he talked about hearing about Kalahandi as a child – a ‘black spot’ on India, and its ‘poorest poorest place’, and how he’d always wanted to do something about it. He said:

“We took courage to go there, no road even or bridge, it was all isolated, we created infrastructure, 7000 got work, not a blade of grass was moved in Niyamgiri .”

This blade of grass is very famous now. It is the same blade he claims he hasn’t touched during the last ten years AGMs. Meanwhile the refinery has been built and expanded – displacing families who are now destitute, and the Dongria have been harassed, threatened and even killed.

The report from London Mining Network below gives a detailed account of the proceedings.

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