Vedanta Group Chairman Anil Agarwal meets Ramesh

New Delhi, Jan 17 (PTI) Vedanta Group Chairman AnilAgarwal today met Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh andsought clearance for Vedanta Alumina Limited''s (VAL) Stage-IIbauxite mining project in Orissa.

Sources in the Ministry said the Vedanta chiefrequested Ramesh to reconsider his decision to reject itsStage-II bauxite mining in Niyamgiri Hills for Lanjigarhrefinery.

The Minister pointed out the case filed by VALchallenging the Centre''s decision was currently before theOrissa High Court but asked Agarwal to "make a freshapplication" before the Ministry, sources said.

Later, when asked about the meeting and whether theproject was discussed, Agarwal said, "we discussed it."

The Orissa High Court will be hearing the case onFebruary 2.

Besides the VAL, Orissa government too has filedseparate petitions relating to the case while several PILs,including one by Lanjigarh Anchalika Vikash Parishad, werealso filed in the HC seeking to quash the October 22, 2010notice of Environment Ministry.

Disallowing mining in Niyamgiri Hills of Kalahandidistrict, the Ministry had scrapped the proposal of six-foldcapacity of the refinery from one million tonne per annumcapacity to six million tonne per annum.

The Ministry had stopped sourcing raw material forVedanta�s Lanjigarh refinery from mines for not havingenvironmental clearance.

The Ministry had asked Jharkhand government to ensurethat mines from the state supplying raw material to Vedantarefinery get environmental clearance.

The Centre had ordered the Vedanta to immediately haltexpansion work of the refinery project asking the company tofulfil a number of conditions before operating its existingalumina refinery.

It was alleged that Vedanta was in illegal possessionof 26 hectares of forest land and it was in an expansion modeto enhance its capacity.

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