The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJD backs industrial boost for Kalahandi

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 2: Two days after Green Kalahandi, an organisation spearheading agitation against Vedanta Alumina’s refinery and bauxite mining project, asked the company to quit Kalahandi within a month, ruling BJD legislators from the district today came out in support of the project.

“Founder of Green Kalahandi and former Congress MP, Bhakta Charan Das, who has been rejected repeatedly by the people, is trying to misinterpret the Supreme Court judgement and mislead the innocent people of Kalahandi,” alleged former minister and local MLA of Lanjigarh, Balabhadra Majhi.

Majhi alleged that Das had connived with a foreign mining company and an international NGO and launched agitation against Vedanta project.

Green Kalahandi has been carrying out the anti-alumina plant agitation in the district for the past few years and has recently threatened to launch a “Quit Kalahandi” agitation if the Vedanta group does not leave the region on its own.

Hailing the recent Supreme Court verdict on the alumina and bauxite mining project, Majhi — who has all along been backing the project — said the apex court had virtually given a go-ahead to the project.

With clear directives from the apex court, industrialisation in the zero-industry Kalahandi district had become certain, he said.

The Supreme Court has keenly studied the ground realities in Kalahandi.

It has set certain preconditions for the project like providing funds for forest & wildlife protection, periphery and tribal development which will be beneficial for Kalahandi and local tribal people, said Majhi.

The state’s interest can be protected by formation of a special purpose vehicle for the alumina refinery and bauxite mining project, he added.

“We are not bothered about who will set up the plant. We want industrialisation,” said Bira Sipka, a BJD MLA from Dharamgarh, and Puspendra Singhdeo, Koksara MLA.

The ruling party MLAs announced that a massive rally would be held at Lanjigarh and a door-to-door campaign would be taken up to make the people aware about the state government’s industrialisation policy and the recent Supreme Court verdict.

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