The state of Odisha is known for its mineral wealth in the country. It is corroborated by the presence of India’s 92% of chromite, 92% of nickel, 52% of bauxite, 44% of manganese, 33% of iron-ore, and 24% of coal reserves in the state. In addition, many other minerals like limestone, dolomite, tin, vanadium, lead, gold, etc., are also found here. This abundant mineral wealth has attracted number of industries such as thermal power plants, iron/steel including sponge iron plants, aluminium smelters, ferro-alloys and coal washeries functional in the region.
Sambalpur district is located in the western part of Odisha. It is one of the highly industrialized districts of the state and has also been declared as ‘critical polluted area’ (CPA) by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Some of the main industries operating in the district include – M/s Bhushan Power and Steel Limited, M/s Aditya Aluminium, Viraj Steel and Energy, Iron Ispat and Energy Limited, Shyma Mettalics and Energy Limited, Maa Samleswari Indistries (P) Limited etc.
M/s Aditya Aluminium Ltd (Bomaloi village) is one of the many industries, located in the Sambalpur district. The first Environmental Clearance to M/s Aditya Aluminium was approved in 2005. Finally, on 29 November 2012, Environmental Clearance was approved for expansion of Aluminium Smelter Plant and Captive Power Plant. All the expansions were on the existing plant premises. Currently, on 14 August 2018, Environmental Clearance was further amended for enhancement of pot line. Please see table 1 for detailed chronology of events related to M/s Aditya Aluminium Ltd.
Table 1 – Environmental Clearance/s to M/s Aditya Aluminium Ltd
|S. N.||Details of Environmental Clearance (EC) Letter||Capacity|
|EC granted on 22 November 2005 ( for captive power plant)||5×130 MW|
|2||EC granted on 27 January 2006, (for aluminium smelter plant)||2,60,000 TPA|
|3||Expansion of EC granted on 29 November 2012, (for expansion of aluminium smelter &d captive power plant)||0.26 MTPA to 0.72 MTPA & 650 MW to 1650 MW|
|Amendment of EC granted on 14 August, 2018 (for enhancement of pot line)||360 to 380 KA|
There is a preponderance of Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes in village Bomaloi, like, Munda, Khadia, Gond, Lohar, Kumbhar, etc. These communities are native inhabitants and their primary livelihood source
is farming on their lands, inherited from their ancestors since generations. However the increasing activities of M/s Aditya Aluminium are posing a grave threat to the existence and livelihood resource of these communities.
For example, take the case of the villager, Kalia Munda, a farmer, who has been residing in the village for many generations. For his livelihood, he has been engaged in agricultural activities on his land, inherited from his ancestors. Though it is a small chunk of land but he has acquired the skill to successfully manage it to sustain his family and he was content with it.
But, things changed when Hindalco Industries Limited, set-up a captive power plant (M/s Aditya Aluminium plant) in the same village. Since its inception, the Aditya Aluminium plant has been dumping fly ash on his land. Neither he was informed about this dumping nor was his consent sought. Furthermore, he has not been awarded any compensation in lieu of the loss of his only source of livelihood. One of the critical specific conditions of environmental clearance was 100% utilisation of fly ash generated by the plant. Moreover, the compliance report submitted in the Regional Office states that the company has complied with the terms and conditions. However, the ground reality is that the fly ash has been dumped on his land. Kalia Munda alleges that the dumping of fly ash began in the month of May 2015. In addition the plant constructed a Kacha road along with a concrete slope on his land. The land for all practical purposes has turned barren and infertile and consequently he is unable to continue any agricultural activity on his land. Currently, the project proponent has also set-up a solar plant on his land and that too without any prior information to him. Owing to these unlawful activities of the company, literally usurping his land, Kalia Munda has been forced to leave his productive land.
Author – Sunil Hembram