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Biswajit Mohanty, an environmental activist, plans to initiate legal action against Vedanta’s refinery in Orissa on the issue of alleged violations of environmental norms. The activist also plans to take legal action on the long-running ‘mining scam’ in the state
Environmental activist Biswajit Mohanty is planning to initiate legal action against the Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta group for allegedly violating environmental clearances given to its aluminium plant in Orissa. He had also written to the ministry of environment and forests on the issue earlier.
Apart from the Vedanta group, the activist also plans to initiate legal action against illegal mining in two districts in Orissa.
“We will take legal action on the basis that the environmental regulations are being violated and hence the same should be withdrawn, and operations should be suspended,” said Biswajit Mohanty, general secretary, Wildlife Society of Orissa.
Last month, Mr Mohanty had written to Jairam Ramesh, Union minister for environment and forests, alleging that Vedanta was flouting the conditions in its clearance letter by buying bauxite ore elsewhere and then carting it to its refinery on trucks, which is causing air pollution in that area.
PTI news reports have also quoted Mr Ramesh as stating that a ministerial expert committee that had gone into various mining projects in Orissa found violations of various permissions by Vedanta at its Niyamgiri Hills mining site.
A three-member team of the ministry submitted its report to the government, saying that it had found evidence of violations of green norms at the company’s bauxite project in the Kalahandi district of Orissa. However, Mr Mohanty has not received any direct reply to his letter to the ministry.
“The government should not have allowed the refinery to operate for the past two-and-a-half years. They are causing a huge environmental problem due to the trucks (which are plying), as they are sourcing bauxite from Korba in Chhattisgarh, which is illegal. Around 40,000 trucks ply on this route every year,” Mr Mohanty added.
Alleging that the companies involved in mining are taking out more ore than permitted, Mr Mohanty said that there is a “mining scam” going on in Orissa, which could be bigger than the one in Andhra Pradesh. He said that he is planning to take action against 40 mines in Sundargarh and Keonjhar districts in Orissa.
These mines are mainly iron ore mines and some are of chromate and bauxite. These are mines used by some of the large steel companies and business groups, including a state-run company.
“Every mine is given a cap on the amount of ore that they produce, but the production is much in excess than the one allowed as per the Pollution Act. This has been happening since many years, but the regulatory authority woke up to it only four to five years back. However, action still needs to be taken,” explained Mr Mohanty.
Mr Mohanty claims that many of these mines neither have environmental clearances nor have they have applied for it. “These were mines allotted many years back. If the companies operating these mines wished to exceed the capacity, they should have approached the concerned authority for an increase in the cap,” he added.
Cairn has said that it is on track to ramp up output from its Rajasthan fields to 125,000 barrels per day in the second half of 2010 from the current output of around 20,000 barrels per day
Cairn India Ltd on Tuesday said that oil reserves in its Thar Desert field in Rajasthan have increased to 4 billion barrels, reports PTI.
Previously, discovered resources were pegged at 3.7 billion barrels of oil and oil-equivalent gas, the company said in a press statement.
"Our resource base provides potential to produce 2,40,000 barrels per day (as against the previous estimate of 1,75,000 bpd)," it said.
Cairn said that it is on track to ramp up output from its Rajasthan fields to 1,25,000 bpd in the second half of 2010. Current output is around 20,000 bpd.
The company has tied up sale of 1,43,000 bpd (over 7 million tonnes a year) of oil. Cairn said that production potential from Mangala, the largest field in the block, has increased to 150,000 bpd from the previous 125,000 bpd.
SCI plans to start a new container liner route from India to Africa, in addition to the European route which the company proposes to run through a JV with Mediterranean Shipping Co
State-owned Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) plans to start a new container liner route from India to Africa in addition to the European route which the company proposes to run through a joint venture (JV) with Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), a senior company official said.
"We are evaluating various options to start an India-Africa liner route. We also have plans to acquire three new container ships by this year-end," the SCI official told PTI in Mumbai.
SCI has earmarked $200 million-$225 million to fund these three vessel-purchases and plans to float a tender for the same in the next few days.
The entity plans to purchase the three new container vessels along with its existing JV partner MSC. These will be executed after securing Board approval, the official said.
In May 2009, SCI had entered into an agreement with MSC to run its European service.
Presently, SCI has a total fleet strength of 76, which includes five container vessels.
"We have seen a significant pick up in volumes in the recent past, on account of the recovery in domestic and global markets. Volumes are expected to pick up further in the months ahead," the official said.
"In the long term, there is a huge potential in this business. The recovery in freight rates is most notable on the Asia-Europe routes with all container routes showing signs of improvement," the SCI official said.
Vessel prices have also declined in recent months, a factor which is favourable to SCI while making its vessel purchases, the official said. He, however, did not divulge further financial details.
SCI also operates feeder cargo vessels along India's west coast, besides operating cargo vessels in the coastal regions of the country.