Archive for the 'Alleged rogues' Category

Jairam Ramesh, environment, Vedanta and Odisha

Alleged rogues, Anil Agarwal, Bauxite, Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, ENVIRONMENT, EXPOSING ANTI-ODISHA-GROWTH SCHEMES, Forestization, Kalahandi, Key Center-State issues, Koraput, Malkangiri, Mine related pollution, Nabarangpur, Puri, Vedanta 12 Comments »

People reading this blog must must have seen the news about the Saxena committee (which was empowered by Jairam Ramesh and the environment ministry) report on Vedanta’s operations in Lanjigarh, Odisha.

Although the report reads like an activist team’s report, the fact remains that the laws of the country are sacred and needs to be followed.

It is a different matter that laws are broken with impunity at all levels ranging from the laws reported to be broken by Vedanta to normal people extending their houses and gardens into government land, groups building temples as a ruse to capture government land where ever they feel like, people blocking roads, trains, doing bandhs whenever they feel like, etc. etc. In India laws are broken with impunity and are broken more often than they are adhered to. But this does not excuse what Vedanta is reported to have done. The committee report also rebukes the Odisha government for its hand in the whole affair.

However, one needs to put this report in perspective with what the environment ministry and Jairam Ramesh have found in rest of India. Following are excerpts from a report in that gives us some added perspective.

… several industrialists are also upset about what they call Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh’s activist-like positions. "He is taking positions, which are normally associated with unreasonable activists and their organisations," says one leading industrialist whose project is stuck. …

… Data from the ministry’s website show that of the 58 projects that have come up for Coastal Regulation Zone clearance since April 2009, it gave only half a dozen of them the green signal.

Over 1,800 projects are awaiting clearances as of the first week of this month.

…"There are people who consciously instigate and organise people in coastal Andhra against projects coming up in the region," says a spokesperson of a power company,  which is promoting a project in coastal Andhra Pradesh.

"Land availability is a big issue in India. Developers can approach the ministry only after either acquiring the land or have assurances to get the land, to request for the terms of reference to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment study. By that stage, a lot of investment and time may have gone into execution of the projects, and still you are not sure of getting the clearance," says Sanjay Sethi, executive director (infrastructure) at Kotak Investment Banking.

"It is necessary to have more transparent and clear guidelines and checklists for land available for various commercial and industrial uses, with clear maps of sensitive zones, which should be easily available to project developers," he adds.

… To be fair to the environment ministry, there are issues like misrepresentation of facts by project developers and the state, or conflicting reports on issues by expert panels.

In a recent development, the environmental clearances for at least four projects in an around Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh were suspended by the ministry.

On July 15, the ministry cancelled the clearance given to Nagarjuna Construction Company’s 2,640 megawatt (Mw) coal-based super critical thermal power plant at Gollagandi and Baruva villages in Srikakulam.

An expert panel said most of the project land allocated by the state government might be regarded as wetland, contrary to an earlier panel report that the 750 acres of grasslands were barren and not fit for agriculture.

The same expert panel, which visited East Coast Energy’s 2,640 Mw thermal project near Kakarapalli village in Srikakulam during the same time, found the state government had ignored reports on the ecological value of low lying areas of the well recognised Naupada swamps wetland and migratory bird breeding in nearby Telineelapuram of Srikakulam.

"This amounts to suppression/distortion of facts," the panel said.

A nearby project – that of JSW’s 1.4 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) alumina refinery and a co-generation plant – is also being reviewed by the ministry.

… On June 28, the ministry directed the formation of a supervisory committee to monitor the influence of toxic effluents from JSW Energy’s 1,200 Mw thermal power plant at Jaigad in Maharashtra, following apprehensions that effluents could affect the quality of Alphonso mangoes and cashew orchards in the region.

… Ten days before that, Jindal Power Limited drew the wrath of the ministry for commencing construction of a 2,400 Mw power project at Tamnar in Chhattisgarh,  without obtaining prior environment clearance.

The ministry has directed the state government to stop work and initiate action against the Naveen Jindal-promoted company.

Some of the other high-profile projects that have been halted include the Maheshwar Hydroelectric project on the Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh on grounds that the conditions of the statutory environmental clearance were not complied with and the resettlement and rehabilitation of the project-affected families was less than satisfactory – charges denied by the state chief minister and the company.

… Also, many say the minister has involved himself in much-publicised wars of words with Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel over the environment ministry’s reluctance to clear the Navi Mumbai international airport, citing destruction of mangroves, razing of a hill and diversion of two rivers; with Road Transport Minister Kamal Nath, who openly accused him of blocking projects;

… But, even his sharpest critics agree on one thing: Ramesh has made sure that no one can treat the environment ministry lightly any longer.

… "This is probably the first time that an environmentalist has become a minister. He is almost single-handedly bringing about a paradigm shift within the government about how to view progress and development," says Pandey.

I agree with the sentence in the red. Earlier companies and state governments were not taking the environment ministry that seriously. Ramesh’s actions will make sure that everyone take the environment ministry seriously. That is a good thing and kudos to Mr. Ramesh for that.

However, as far as Odisha is concerned Jairam Ramesh seems to have something against it. We say that for the following reasons.

  • When Odisha was trying for an IIT Jairam Ramesh insulted Odisha with his comments. See
  • Recently, Hindustan Times (see reported the following: "The Union Environment Ministry on Tuesday put on hold the controversial Rs.150 billion Vedanta University project in Orissa following complaints of alleged irregularities by its promoter Anil Agarwal Foundation. The direction to keep the project in abeyance has come within a month of the Ministry granting conditional environmental clearance to the Foundation which is building the university." Now stopping a mine or a factory or an airport for environmental reasons may make sense, but a university?? That too, just because some one complained. No investigation! Just people complained and he stopped the project, when the project was about to construct a medical college!!
  • Jairam Ramesh and his ministry recently granted environmental permission to construct the Polavurum dam in Andhra Pradesh against the objections of the Orissa and Chhatisgrah government. See . Times of India was surprised with this. It wrote: "Oddly, while the ministry had set up separate committees to investigate the settlement of rights under the Forest Rights Act in other high profile cases such as Vedanta and Posco which propose to displace far lesser people, in the Polavaram case the ministry has decided to accept the state government’s compliance report on face value.  The mega-project is expected to submerge 276 villages displacing upwards of two lakh people by some estimates. "   

In summary, while Jairam Ramesh deserves kudos for putting his foot down on environment laws and making sure everyone takes them seriously, people of Odisha need to be very careful of him as he seems to be against Odisha; he has stopped projects clearly beneficial to Odisha (namely, Vedanta University) by using his environment stick, and at the same time has allowed projects clearly harmful to Odisha  (namely, the polavurum dam) even after the Odisha government and Odisha chief minister have vehemently objected to it. This does not at all gel with the actions they took against Vedanta University. There the project was ordered to stop because some people complained. Here the project was given green signal despite the state of Odisha and its chief minister complaining and that too reportedly without any enquiry. 

Bhushan has become a death factory: Samaja

Bhushan Steel Ltd., Jharsugurha, Sambalpur-Burla-Jharsuguda, Steel Comments Off on Bhushan has become a death factory: Samaja


The government must investigate this.

Alleged stealing from Odisha!! No wonder the whole industry has such a bad name.

Alleged rogues, MINES and MINERALS 8 Comments »

Following is an excerpt from a report in Financial Express:

Prominent steel, sponge iron and mining companies are found to be allegedly involved in illegal removal and transporation of minerals in Orissa. Shockingly, these companies were using the railway rakes for shifting of the booty from Orissa to neighbouring states and to ports at Paradip, Visakhapatnam and Haldia for exports.

Orissa police have booked 48 companies and individuals for illegal procurement and transporation of minerals worth about Rs 54.50 crore by using railway rakes.

The companies and individuals allegedly involved in the illegal activities include Essel Minings, Rungta Mines, Visa Steel, Adhunik Metaliks, Jai Balaji Industries Ltd, MSP Metaliks, Kesav Minerals, Triveni Earth Movers, Ankit Metaliks, SPS Steel & Power, Sameleswar Ferro Metaliks, MAP Mines & Minerals, Jharkhand Ispat, Rashmi Metalicks, Abhijit Choudhry, KJS Alhuwalia, Indrani Patnaik and Sarat Kumar Kodia. …

This is outrageous. If the allegations are correct, these companies should be handed down the severest punishment allowable by law. I am also shocked that Essel Minings, an Aditya Birla company is in the above list.

Indrani Patnaik Mines and Triveni Earth Movers charged by Orissa government for illegal mining

Alleged rogues, Iron Ore 3 Comments »

Following is an excerpt from an IANS report by Hardeep Sidhu in

The Orissa vigilance department Thursday filed criminal cases against the state’s two leading companies for their alleged involvement in illegal mining, a senior official said.

"The cases have been filed against Indrani Patnaik Mines and Triveni Earth Movers at vigilance police station at Balasore," Vigilance Department Director Anup Kumar Patnaik told IANS.

He said that 10 cases of illegal mining have been filed till now. Balasore is some 200 km from here.

Both companies have been accused of illegally mining iron ore in the mineral rich district of Keonjhar. …

Samaja reports that an RTI response allegedly shows that Essel Mining has mined much more than it was granted permission and in the process has looted Rs 2550 crores

Alleged rogues, Birlas, Essel Mining, Iron Ore, Odisha RTI, Samaja (in Odia) Comments Off on Samaja reports that an RTI response allegedly shows that Essel Mining has mined much more than it was granted permission and in the process has looted Rs 2550 crores

Essel Mining is an Aditya Birla group company. Such allegation, if true, by a Birla group company is really unfortunate. No wonder many people in Orissa mistrust industrialists. If the above allegations are true, the Orissa government should cancel the mining lease of Essel Mining and sue it to get the money Orissa lost.

PTI quotes an official: ESSEL company has allegedly left its leased mining areas untouched and has been illegally raising the iron-ore beyond its surface rights.

Alleged rogues, Birlas, Essel Mining, Iron Ore, Keonjhar 1 Comment »

Following is an excerpt from a PTI report.

About 80,000 tonnes of iron-ore worth more than Rs seven crore has been seized by Orissa’s mining authorities from Koida mines in Sundargarh district, officials said today.

Mining officers, during their raids yesterday seized about 70,000 tonnes of lumps and 10,000 tonnes of fine iron-ore.

Irregularities were also found in mining operation by a contractor, they said, adding ESSEL company has allegedly left its leased mining areas untouched and has been illegally raising the iron-ore beyond its surface rights.

Essel Mining is an Aditya Birla group company. Such action, if true, by a Birla group company contractor is really unfortunate. No wonder many people in Orissa mistrust industrialists. If the above allegations are true, the Orissa government should cancel the mining lease of Essel Mining.

Is Jindal Steel of Kalinganagar trying to cheat Orissa? – Sambada

Alleged rogues, High Court, Jajpur, Jajpur Rd- Vyasanagar- Duburi- Kalinganagar, Jindal, Sambada (in Odia), Steel, Thermal 4 Comments »

Following is from Sambada. It reports that Jindal Steel of Kalinganagar is trying to give its extra power to its plant in Harayana against the agreement that the state of Orissa has the first rights to get that extra power. The Orissa high court was approached on this and it has put a stay order on this. Industrialists should realize that such attempt to steal from a state, that too a poor state like Orissa, is what gives the whole conecpt of industrailization a bad name.

Orissa getting no tax from Bhushan Steel operations In Kantabania, Dhenkanal: Samaja

Bhushan Steel Ltd., Dhenkanal, Samaja (in Odia), Steel, Taxes Comments Off on Orissa getting no tax from Bhushan Steel operations In Kantabania, Dhenkanal: Samaja

There are at least two Bhushan companies. This article is about Bhushan steel Ltd.The other company is Bhushan Power and Steel.

Companies in Orissa that allegedly do not pay attention to pollution; Government seems to be soft on them

Bhusan Power & Steel, Bhushan Steel Ltd., Closure notice once issued, ENVIRONMENT, Tata refractories Ltd., Tatas 1 Comment »

Following are excerpts from a report in

Take the case of Bhusan Power & Steel (BPSL), an integrated power and steel plant set up at Thelkoloi in Sambalpur district.

The Orissa Pollution Control Board (OPCB) on 16 February issued a closure notice to BPSL for violating the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act and Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act.

BPSL was asked to stop all production until further orders, failing which stringent penal proceedings would be initiated against the company.

According to sources though the company is producing power for more than 2 years is has no designated site to dump fly ash released from the plants.

In absence of a proper place the company authorities were dumping in nearby places like Laripalli, for which villagers raised hue and cry.

Now they are dumping in Khinda, said a source.

Secondly BPSL filled up the river bed of the Bheden River by dumping earth.

These, according to environmental norms are serious offences.

OPCB had been asking BPSL to conform to environmental norms for the past six months, said the source.

However, the company allegedly did not pay any heed to it, added an official.

OPCB waited for six months and finally decided on closing down the unit.

… On 1 March OPCB has lifted the closure notice.

… Months ago when Dr. Hrushikesh Panda was at the helm of Forest & Environment Department, Tata Refractories Limited (TRL) at Belpahar,  was accused of pollution.

He impressed upon the OPCB to issue closure notice to the company.

OPCB issued closure notice and the Chief Minister announced the closure of TRL in the floor of the House.

So unrelenting was he that the State Government was to shift Dr.Panda to provide relief to TRL.

With so many pollution prone large mineral based industries coming up in Orissa, the soft approach of the Government’s Green Authority bodes ill for the state, feel an environmentalist.