Jharsuguda : Eight social organization including BJP and Congress party of Jharsuguda District beside two persons of Brundamal Village, who have moved to High court over the Public hearing of expansion of Vedanta Ltd. held on 30th September, have submitted petitions to the Jharsuguda District Collector demanding to re-hold the public hearing for expansion of Vedanta Ltd. on Monday.
On Friday, Odisha High Court indicated that it was not averse to holding another public hearing in connection with the expansion of the production capacity of the aluminum smelter plant of Vedanta Limited in Jharsuguda.
On September 29th the single bench of Justice, K.R. Mohapatra issued an interim stay order on the public hearing, but on September 30, Justice Mohapatra issued another order which said, “In partial modification of the order dated 29.09.2020 it is directed that the public hearing pursuant advertisement dated 27.08.2020 issued by State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) Odisha, may continue, but no final decision shall be taken till the next date.”
The matter was heard on 9th October , advocate Prafulla Kumar Rath, arguing on behalf of the petitioners said that only 90 people has participated in the public hearing on 30th September. “This cannot be said to be a substantial representation of the villagers of the five revenue villages having populations of more than 10,000. Hence, there was no effective public hearing at all.” He contended.
While disposing the case of petition, Justice K.R. Mohapatra said, “There is no material available before this court to test the veracity of the same. If that be so, then petitioners may make a representation to the collector, Jharsuguda, by 12.10.2020, who shall consider the same and pass necessary orders thereon in consultation with the stakeholders , if necessary, by taking steps to hold another public hearing.”
“Odisha High Court has given a judgement in which court has asked Jharsuguda District collector to hold Public Meeting again as the Public hearing of Vedanta Ltd. which was done on September 30th was not done properly, the reason was that only substantial representation of villagers of five panchayat was done, Even court has felt like this. Now we have demanded Jharsuguda Dist. Administration to hold the Public Hearing again by and if Dist. Administration not agree than we will move forward as per the order of Odisha High Court.” Said Tankadar Tripathy, State Secretary BJP Odisha.
Meanwhile even Mahendra Nayak Congress leader said that, “This matter is for the people of Jharsuguda and Vedanta has been polluting by Ash and destroying environment. I am sure that whatever order has been passed by Hon’ble High court, will definitely will be in favour of local people. “
In this regard, we had contacted Jharsuguda District Collector Saroj Kumar Samal, but did not get any response in this matter