Bhubaneswar: A group of villagers Saturday met Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and demanded allocation of bauxite to the alumina refinery of Vedanta Aluminum Limited (VAL) located in their region.
The group, comprising of about two dozens of residents and employees of the plant in Kalahandi district, also submitted a memorandum to Patnaik and urged him to ensure that the plant does not close down due to a raw material crisis.
“If the company will close down, life of more than 20,000 people will be affected,” Srikant Bohidar, a villager said after the meeting.
“We requested the chief minister to save the plant and protect the interest of people and those employed at the plant,” Bohidar said.
Set up at an investment of $800 million, the VAL requires three lakh tonnes of bauxite per month to run its alumina refinery at Lanjigarh, about 600 km from here.
However, due to bauxite shortage, the company is running the one-million-tonne per annum refinery at 40-50 percent of its capacity for the past several weeks.
The company earlier this month had informed the state government about its intention to shutdown temporarily from Dec 5 as it was unable to arrange bauxite from other sources.
Vedanta wants to mine bauxite from Niyamgiri Hills located near its refinery but environmental and other clearances for this have been mired in litigation and protests.
It has also applied for several other bauxite reserves in the state, but none of them have materialised so far.
The refinery was commissioned in August 2007. Bauxite is the main raw material used to produce alumina.