Bhubaneswar: At a time Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta expects to operationalize Jamkani coal block in Odisha this fiscal, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs alleged that the company is initiating coal mining activities without complying with the guidelines of Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Act 2013.
The MLAs have written a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik alleging that the company has violated the state and central government guidelines.
They informed that the villagers are opposing the transfer of land to Vedanta Ltd for the Jamkani coal mining project in Hemgir block.
The demand of villagers is for fresh gram sabha approval for Vedanta.
The land for Jamkani coal mining project spread over four villages in Jharpalam GP was originally acquired for Bhusan Steel and Power Ltd (BSPL) around 12 years back. However, in 2014, the Supreme Court cancelled 218 coal blocks including that of BSPL terming the allocation between 1993 and 2010 as illegal and arbitrary. During the auction in 2019, Vedanta bagged the Jamkani coal block.
“The lands of Jamakani, Jharpalam, Mendra and Girisima villages have been partially acquired with very less amount of compensation as per obsolete LA &RR Act, but the lands are still in possession of the people with their house for their livelihood,” the BJP MLAs said in the letter.
“The land acquisition was meant for Bhusan but now the same coal mine is allotted to Vedanta. In these changed circumstances, the compensation of the land acquisition should be effected as per the new Land Acquisition Act 2013 for proper justice to the displaced and project affected people for which it should be surveyed again to finalise the compensation of the land, houses and forest land holders,” they said.
According to sources, Vedanta expects to bring into operation Jamkhani coal block in this fiscal.
Jamkhani coal block is in proximity to the company’s Jharsuguda aluminium smelter. It is one of the most attractive coal blocks for the Jharsuguda plant in terms of location, annual capacity, reserves and readiness to produce.
The approved per annum capacity of the coal block is 2.6 million tonnes and has an extractable reserve of 114 million tonnes.