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Violence during tribal people’s protest against Vedanta’s proposed plant in Gujarat

Photo used for representation purpose only. File  

More than 50 rounds of tear gas shells were fired by police when protests by hundreds of local tribal people turned violent during a public hearing of a smelter project being set up by Hindustan Zinc Ltd., an arm of the Vendata group, in Gujarat’s district Tapi on Monday.

The proposed plant, spread over 415 acres, will entail an investment of ₹ 5000- 10,000 crore in phases, creating more than 5,000 direct and indirect jobs and will be operational by 2022 as per the MoU inked by the Vedanta group with the Gujarat government in October 2020.

Accordingly, the Gujarat State Pollution Control Board fixed July 5 for a public hearing on the proposed plant for as many as 91 villages in the radius of 10 km from the plant site.

The charge

The local tribal people, under the banner of Adivasi Panch, have been opposing the plant, contending that they would lose their livelihood, and lead, cadmium, arsenic and sulphur dioxide from the factory would pose a great threat to public health of people and their livestock besides allegedly severely contaminating fertile agriculture land.

During the public hearing, the protesters clashed with the police, vandalising police vehicles and facing tear gas shells.

“We don’t want the plant in our area because it would ruin our livelihood and also destroy our ecology,” said local tribal leader and former lawmaker Amarsinh Z Chaudhary.

The company has, however, been trying to allay their fears by contending that the state of the art factory would have zero discharge technology so there would not be any environmental damage to the area.

The State government has also maintained that the plant would not damage the environment and stressed that it’s the first major industrial project in the tribal district that will create employment opportunities for the local people.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 3:54:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/violence-during-tribal-peoples-protest-against-vedantas-proposed-plant-in-gujarat/article35151755.ece

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