Activists in Odisha, Government held a public hearing over Vedanta Limited’s intended extension of its aluminum smelter plant in Jharsuguda district. The public hearing took place at a government school in Kurebaga village of Jharsuguda district on 30th September. But Prafulla Samantra, an environmental activist, has asked a fresh hearing blazoning that the earlier hearing is illegal.
According to the reports, Samantra claimed that the hearing was conducted in a very hurry and charged a new hearing on the environmental impact assessment. He even wrote to the member secretary of the Orissa Pollution Control Board (OPCB). Even earlier, on 29th September, the Orissa High Court issued a stay order on the public hearing notification. In concern of violation of COVID-10 guidelines, it was published by the OPCB.
In another hearing held on 30th September, the Orissa High court authorized a public hearing, and then it was accompanied by around 400 people, among which 62 people spoke about it.
For a very long time, Environmentalist activists in Odisha have been protesting against the Vedanta Aluminium’s proposal to extend the existing plant in Jharsuguda from 16 LTPA to 18 LTPA. Vedanta had also proposed to expand its captive power plant capacity to 1,215 megawatts at the cost of about Rs 1,240 crore, and because of this, Samantra requested the OPCB to hold a public hearing only after presenting the accurate information to the public. Samantra was felicitated by Goldman Environmental prize in 2017 for his ground-level environmental activism. He urged the OPCR that it should not hold any public hearing without giving proper information to the public. Already the news of the Orissa high court’s stay order on 29th September was covered up in many newspapers on 30th September.
He had already filled a written objection to the environmental impact assessment ( EIA) report depicting that the whole process of public hearing should be in utter transparency.
Article Written by Dikhya Mohanty
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