Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Sambalpur, March 2:
Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO), a leading network on water and environmental issues in the state, today demanded action against Vedanta for illegal construction of a fly ash pond on encroached land.
“We are shocked to learn from local newspaper reports that the Vedanta group of company’s Sesa Sterlite Industries at Bhurkamunda of Jharsuguda district has constructed its fly ash pond by illegally encroaching 246.74 acres of forest land in complete violation of the Forest Conservation Act 1980. We urge upon the state government to close down the fly ash pond with immediate effect, take possession of the land and initiate action against those responsible for violating the laws of the land in this case,” demanded Ranjan Panda, convenor of WIO.
While the locals have repeatedly drawn the attention of the Forest department about the illegal construction of the ash pond since 2009-10, the latter is said to have intervened in this matter only in 2013.
“What surprises us more is that the Forest department, instead of initiating action, has made a request to the company in this matter which gives credence to its leniency to the company which has been able operate the ash pond till date,” Panda added.
It may be noted that WIO has been raising its voice against the violations of environmental and other laws by Vedanta group of companies in this area since 2010 and urging the state government to not allow any thermal power plant without ensuring the proper management of fly ash.