JHARSUGUDA: The members of the Scheduled Tribe (ST) Commission visited the peripheral villages of Vedanta Ltd., Jharsuguda on May 2, 2018 and interacted with the villagers and the Scheduled Tribes community in particular during their two day visit to Jharsuguda and Sambalpur.
As per a report, Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) has been alloted 157.05 acres of non-forest government land at Burkhamunda near Jharsuguda for its aluminium smelter plant. Schedule Caste (SC) constitutes 18.1% while Schedule Tribe (ST) were 30.5% of total population in Jharsuguda district of Odisha.
The commission visited Katikela, Burkhamunda, Banjari and Kurebaga villages to interact with the residents and capture their aspirations, expectation and issues specific to the community.
Despite a few voices of discontent the villagers at large acknowledged the CSR work done by the company but they also demanded better drinking water facility, health services and more employability of local youth.
The commission also met the representatives of Vedanta led by its CEO – Abhijit Pati to review the situation on ground in presence of the district Collector and other senior officials of district administration.
“The commission instructed Vedanta to expedite rehabilitation process of Katikela Village and also to provide better facilities of drinking water and health in addition to the existing programs. Pati assured cooperation in this regard.”, Vedanta said in a statement.
Earlier the commission also met the representatives of the Vedanta supported all women Subhalaxmi Cooperative and appreciated their efforts specifically directed for the ST women.
The representatives of the 3000 strong women cooperative made a representation to the members of the ST Commission demanding facilitation by the commission for leveraging government schemes specifically meant for its ST women members at Jharsuguda. The committee assured the cooperative for extending support for channelizing government projects specifically meant for the ST community.
Subhalaxmi Cooperative currently has 3324 active women members, of which 1774 belong to the ST community. Started in 2008 with active support of Vedanta Ltd. at Jharsuguda, the Cooperative currently has a strong fund base of 2.26 crore. Vedanta has till date invested Rs 3.16 Crore to support this livelihood initiative that has emerged as its flagship CSR program reaching out to 64 villages in Jharsuguda.
Pati informed, “We welcome the suggestion of the commission and we assure all cooperation. We remain committed to the local development and we are constantly working for the betterment of the marginalised communities and the Subhalaxmi Cooperative is a testimonial of the same.”
As per the information available in its website, Vedanta Ltd. has invested in a 0.5 MTPA aluminum smelter and 1215 MW captive power plant supported by highly modern infrastructure at Jharsuguda, Orissa. Construction of 1.1 MTPA aluminium smelter expansion project at Jharsuguda is under process. It intends to expand the fully integrated smelting capacity to around 2.6 MTPA. It has the site of the 2400 MW Independent Power Plant.