Posts filed under ‘Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL), Jharsuguda’

Supporting the demand for establishment of an Indian Institute of Management at Sambalpur city

To,

Honorable HRD Minister Shri Kapil Sibal

CC: 

Mr. Naveen Patnaik, honorable Chief Minister, Odisha
Honorable MPs, Odisha
Journalists and Intelligentsia  

Sub: Supporting the demand of establishment of an Indian Institute of Management at Sambalpur city
 
Dear honorable Shri Sibalji,

MHRD and other central Govt. ministries have been establishing various centrally funded institutions in Odisha to make it a developed state. However, most of the centrally funded institution viz. National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER), Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), and railway medical college are located in Bhubaneswar. So far, the state govt. has not established any centrally funded Institutes in the western part of Odisha.

From decades the people of western Odisha have been demanding the establishment of centrally funded institutes. But nothing is happening as Orissa govt. is continuing to be capital-centric by proposing new central governments institutes in the capital region. However, in principle, it should happen like it is happening in various developed states of India (viz. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharastra, etc). I wish Odisha should follow the example of developed states of our country.
 
As reported by media Shri Amarnath Pradhan, honourable MP has raised the issue of Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Lok Sabha and demanded its establishment in Sambalpur city [1].  This demand is genuine. I wholeheartedly support the demand of Shri Amarnath Pradhan, honourable MP.
 
Sir,

Kindly, consider the proposal for establishing an IIM at Sambalpur city; which is well connected to all districts of Orissa and all  cities of India.
 
The Sambalpur city of western Odisha is sandwiched between Burla and Jharsuguda. Burla-Sambalpur-Jharsuguda region is emerging as a knowledge hub and establishing such an institute will help in cross-fertilization of ideas among the scientists, economists and scholars of humanities and social sciences.
 
Beside that Burla-Sambalpur-Jharsuguda area has many advantages viz.
 
· Burla-Sambalpur-Jharsuguda area is well connected to most of the regions in the state and emerging as a central location for on going industrial activities in Odisha such as Sambalpur – Angul – Cuttack – Bhubaneswar belt, Sambalpur-Jharsuguda-Rourkela belt, Jharsuguda – Sambalpur – Lanjigarh – Rayagada – Koraput belt, and Sambalpur – Jharsuguda – Korba – Bilaspur-Raipur belt. Apart from the existing Industries, several major industries are coming up in this region including Vedanta Aluminum in Jharsuguda. These Industries will provide an extremely good environment to the students and staffs of Indian Institute of Management for carrying out various management related consulting projects and student internships. 
 
· Sambalpur and Rourkela city area are two major metropolitan areas of the state. Burla-Sambalpur-Jharsuguda is more accessible for students from all the districts of western Orissa.

· The AAI is taking initiatives to establish an airport in Jharsuguda (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jharsuguda_Airport). Moreover, this area is well connected to Bhubaneswar, Rourkela, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Vishakhapatnam, Raipur, Nagpur, Ranchi, and Mumbai by rail.
 
· The Burla-Sambalpur-Jharsuguda area has all the necessary amenities like road connectivity, hotels, malls, restaurants, bookshops and parks which will definitely attract world class faculties for this Institute.
 
 
Therefore, the central govt should establish the Indian Institute of Management at Sambalpur city of western Odisha.
 
Thank you and best regards,
 
Sanjib
 
References:
1. http://www.tathya.in/news/story.asp?sno=4395, http://wp.me/pFC4h-G6


Dr. Sanjib Kumar Karmee, PhD
Department of Biotechnology
Delft University of Technology
Julianalaan 136, 2628 BL Delft,
The Netherlands

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August 5, 2010 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

Vedanta, defying `Avatar’ protest, seeks to mine Orissa bauxite this year:http://www.bloomberg.com

Following is a report from http://www.bloomberg.com:

Vedanta Resources Plc, battling criticism from environmental groups and some shareholders over plans to extract bauxite in India’s Niyamgiri mountains, said it may begin mining at the site as early as the end of the year.

“All is going well,” Vedanta Chief Executive Officer Mahendra Singh Mehta said in an interview in London. “It shouldn’t take more than three weeks for the government to decide” on approvals after it receives an environment ministry report scheduled for this month.

The mine, key to Vedanta’s plans to meet its targets to expand refining, has been delayed for more than four years as human rights and environmental groups raised concerns about pollution and the effects on the local tribal community. Vedanta on Feb. 9 said it “strongly” denied Amnesty International’s allegations that residents in the region have been displaced.

Some shareholders also protested against the company’s handling of the affair, with 12.8 percent voting against the remuneration report at the July 28 annual general meeting. Aviva Investors, the fund unit of the U.K.’s second-largest insurer, said it would vote against three resolutions.

Environmental and human-rights protesters gathered outside the meeting, some shouting, “Vedanta, Vedanta out” and others painted blue, like characters from the movie “Avatar” about an alien tribe’s battle to save its planet from a corporation determined to strip its raw materials.

Dutch pension fund PGGM said on July 7 it sold 13 million euros ($17 million) of Vedanta stock and the Church of England offloaded its shares in February.

‘No Habitation’

“Certain NGOs complain that the consultation isn’t complete and human rights issues are raised,” Mehta said. “The fact is that the project has undergone a very vigorous consultation process. We are very positive; it’s taking longer time, no problem. We are in the final approval stage.”

India formed a panel to investigate the potential effect of mining on tribes and wildlife in Orissa, reviewing earlier reports on use of forest land, the Ministry of Environment and Forests said June 30. It would offer findings within 30 days.

“There is no habitation on and near the proposed mining area,” Mehta said. “They are reviewing it once again so nothing is left out.” The hills around the site are about 1,400 meters (4,600 feet) high and nobody lives in the area because there aren’t any bodies of water or vegetation, he said.

Vedanta plans to transfer bauxite from the mine to its alumina refinery, about 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the hills, through a pipeline, Mehta said in an interview on July 28. Aluminum is made from alumina refined from bauxite.

‘Environment-Friendly’

“Laying a conveyor from the mine to the refinery will take about 3-6 months,” Mehta said. “Normally the bauxite transportation is done by trucks, which creates pollution; this is a very environment-friendly way.”

Bauxite in the hills, totaling about 80 million metric tons, is 1 or 2 meters from the surface and the “best in its class in the world,” he said. “You just scrape the surface, no blasting is needed. It could be converted to alumina at a cost far lesser than any of the bauxites in the world.”

Vedanta today reported record first-quarter earnings before income, tax, depreciation and amortization, which more than doubled to $793.9 million from $354.7 million a year earlier.

To contact the reporters on this story: Firat Kayakiran in London at fkayakiran@bloomberg.net;

July 30, 2010 at 1:42 pm 2 comments

Will Vedanta University relocate to Tamil Nadu or Andhra Pradesh?

Following is a report from the http://www.businessworld.in:

https://i2.wp.com/www.businessworld.in/bw/image/Economy/Development/vedenta-university-lrg.jpg

Anil Agarwal’s projects in Orissa seem to be running into rough weather. His Niyamgiri Hills mining project has received a fresh blow with the Attorney General endorsing the environment ministry’s powers to not give clearance to the project. Agarwal’s other project in Orissa — Vedanta University — seems to be going nowhere. It appears it would take years before the first brick is laid on his most ambitious, and grandest, education project.

Agarwal, founder of London-based Vedanta Group, turned heads in 2006 when he said he would set up an 8,000-acre, $3-billion university under the aegis of Vedanta Foundation (which later changed its name to Anil Agarwal Foundation or AAF) in the state’s coastal town of Puri. He also offered $1 billion from his personal funds. Agarwal’s holding in his companies is worth more than $10 billion (as on 31 March 2010).

However, as with most projects requiring land acquisition, the university project, too, got mired in controversy. On 17 March, Orissa Lok Pal Justice P.K. Patra recommended a vigilance probe against AAF’s land deals. In May, the environment and forests ministry withheld clearance for the university, citing “irregularities, illegal, unethical and unlawful deeds”.

With the odds stacked against it, AAF is weighing other options. “Two states have extended an invitation; a decision is likely to be taken on a new site in two months,” says Ajit Kumar Samal, in-charge of the university project. He, however, refuses to divulge more details. Experts say the alternatives to Orissa could be Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, which have good educational infrastructure. “Any place near Hyderabad or Chennai would be a good location,” says Narayanan Ramaswamy, head of education practice at consultancy firm KPMG.

The more important question, though, is: is a large university of this kind feasible in India?

Too Ambitious?
Vedanta’s justification for requiring so much land is simple — to build an institution on the lines of Stanford and Harvard. The 8,180-acre Stanford University was established in 1891. Harvard, set up in 1636, is the oldest institution of higher learning in the US, and has about 5,000 acres. But both were set up when land was not a precious commodity. Besides, the US is a far bigger country than India, and can afford to have universities of such scale.

For a densely-populated country like India, 8,000 acres of contiguous land — later scaled down to 6,000 acres — for a university is hugely ambitious. Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, for instance, has only 1,000 acres. Large universities like Hyderabad Central University and Banaras Hindu University have 2,300 acres and 1,300 acres, respectively. Utkal University, Orissa’s largest, functions in 400 acres.

“In today’s age of high-speed broadband communication, there is no need to be hell-bent on geographical proximity,” says Ramaswamy. The entire knowledge city in Dubai, which houses 30 universities and 450 business partners catering to over 40,000 students, functions well within about 575 acres of land.

Samal doesn’t agree, though. “The architecture is prepared keeping in mind the topography of the place. In Puri, there are no high-rise buildings and hence a ‘horizontal’ plan.”

But now, with Vedanta talking about other states’ interest in the university project, what happens to the 4,000 acres already acquired for it by the Orissa government?

Cheap Land
AAF doesn’t seem to have given it much thought. Developing this as an off-campus could be an option. But locals say the land acquisition is just on paper and “the land will continue to belong to those who reside on it now”. Samal says that AAF has spent Rs 100 crore on land acquisition so far. For 4,000 acres, that works out to Rs 2.5 lakh per acre, among the cheapest rates in India. The area is strategically located between Puri and Konark on the sea coast.

Click here to view enlarged image
Click here to view enlarged image

Others, too, have got land at cheap rates in Orissa for educational institutes. Harivansh Chaturvedi, director of Greater Noida’s Birla Institute of Management Technology (Bimtech), says that Orissa had offered land at Rs 7 lakh per acre in 2001; Bimtech bought 30 acres for Rs 2.20 crore. Haryana had offered 7 acres for Rs 17 crore. In 1985, Xavier Institute of Management was given 20 acres with a building at Bhubaneswar for free. The institute, in turn, reserves 50 per cent seats for local students.

AAF’s other option is to monetise the real estate by coaxing technology giants such as IBM, Wipro, TCS and Infosys to set up research facilities in the campus. It also wants to invite venture capitalists to fund start-ups doing research projects and develop this as a hub of innovation, in much the same way as Stanford does.

However, this won’t be easy. According to Praveen Bhagdada, manager at Bangalore-based Zinnov Management Consulting, technology companies weigh the pros and cons of an institute before signing up with it. “It is early days yet,” says an executive with a top IT firm.

Companies such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Motorola, Mitsubishi and Lockheed Martin are located in the Stanford Industrial Park. Blue-chip companies such as Silicon Graphics, Sun Microsystems and Cisco had begun as ideas in the university’s computer science department.

Agarwal would be hoping for a similar miracle in India. Whether that will happen in Orissa or somewhere else, or whether it will happen at all, is a billion-dollar question.

shalini dot sharma at abp dot in (This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 02-08-2010)

July 25, 2010 at 2:07 pm Leave a comment

Indian environment ministry puts on hold Vedanta varsity in Orissa:IANS

Following is a report by IANS published in http://www.thaindian.com:

New Delhi, May 11 (IANS) The environment ministry Tuesday put on hold construction of the Rs.150 billion Vedanta University in Orissa by the Anil Agarwal Foundation following complaints of irregularities.
The ministry said it had received information alleging irregularities and “illegal, unethical and unlawful deeds” by the foundation.

It said serious objections raised during the Orissa Coastal Zone Management Authority meeting were not appropriately considered while granting coastal regulation zone (CRZ) and environmental clearances.

“The above issues are relevant and important and predict a detailed examination. I have been directed to inform you that the environmental and CRZ clearances issued on April 16, 2010 shall be kept in abeyance till a final decision in the matter is taken by the ministry,” said Bharat Bhushan, director in the ministry, in a letter to the foundation.

The ministry asked the company not to proceed with any construction or development works till a detailed examination of all the issues raised are examined by its Expert Appraisal Committee.

The Anil Agarwal foundation is promoted by NRI billionaire and chairman of Vedanta Resources, Anil Agarwal.

It has proposed to set up the multi-disciplinary Vedanta University over 6,000 acres of land near the Konark-Puri marine drive, some 60 km from the state capital Bhubaneswar.

This not-for-profit university has been envisaged as one-of-its-kind institution for quality higher education and cutting-edge research in 95 disciplines for 100,000 students.

May 11, 2010 at 5:54 pm Leave a comment

Kalahandi MP Bhakta Charan Das raises Niyamgiri mining issue in the Parliament

Following is a report from The Pioneer:

Kalahandi Congress MP Bhakta Charan Das has yet again voiced on the Niyamgiri mining issue in the Parliament urging the Union Government not to give forest clearance saying that the Government of Odisha may be asked to go for other substitute.

He was participating in a debate on the National Green Tribunal Bill, 2009 on April 30 where he expressed his support on the Bill and said that the UPA Government has brought the bill in the interest of environment and the suffering tribal populace dwelling in the forest region.

Bhakta said that the Bill clearly states that the decision would be taken by the majority and naturally when the majority takes the decision, nobody can tamper the decisions taken in the interest of the environment.

Expressing concerns about the climate change, he also voiced against the relentless mining where no compensatory plantations have been done so far following which the ecological imbalance has gone to the extent of causing global warming.

He accused the State Government and private companies of series of violations in this regard saying he had recently pointed out some of the violations committed by the companies to the Environment and Forests Minister for which the Minister has taken the matter seriously and not yet given clearance for mining bauxite in Niyamgiri hill.

Expressing the situation of Niyamgiri hill, he said that about 8,000 primitive tribals and more than a lakh of people sustain their livelihood out of traditional earnings from the forest region spread over 240 sq km in Raygada, Gajapati and Kalahandi districts of Odisha which is having 26,000 plants, lots of animals and medicinal plants.

He also alleged that a large number of trees have been felled in Odisha during the last ten years and the environmental damage is caused to the highest extent by the State Government. “Our tribal people could not make any appeal before anybody,” he quipped.

Supporting the bill, he said the tribal have got their rights now to make an appeal before the Tribunal to save their forests, sustainability and future.

May 7, 2010 at 6:10 pm 3 comments

The Orissa state pollution control board clears Vedanta refinery at Lanjigarh

Following is a report from http://economictimes.indiatimes.com:

BHUBANESWAR: The Orissa state pollution control board has given a clean chit to Vedanta’s alumina refinery in the state’s Kalahandi district after conducting checks in the areas near the plant, an official said on Thursday.

 

The board had launched a probe after series of allegations made by some individuals and organisations in January this year, claiming at least 100 people died of tuberculosis over the past few years by the pollution caused by the plant at Lanjigarh, some 500 km from here.

A delegation led by local tribal leader Sridhar Pesnia in January submitted a memorandum to the state government, alleging the deaths of cattle and birds in the area.

A team of scientists from the board made an on-the-spot enquiry last month and collected data and samples from different sources, including data from local health department, a senior official of the board said.

“As per the report the scientists submitted, only one death has occurred – in 2006 – due to tuberculosis in the periphery area of the refinery between 2002 and 2010,” he said.

The team analysed the water samples from the river, streams and tubewell from various locations around the plant and found that the pollution in surrounding surface and ground water remained within acceptable limits.

April 22, 2010 at 5:20 pm Leave a comment

Vedanta University project gets environmental clearance from union ministry of environment and forests (MOEF)

Following is a report by IANS published in http://in.news.yahoo.com:

Bhubaneswar, April 17 (IANS) The Rs.150 billion Vedanta University project in Orissa by the Anil Agarwal foundation has got environmental and coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearances from the central government, a project spokesman said Saturday.

‘The union ministry of environment and forests (MOEF) has granted the environment and CRZ clearances to the Vedanta University project,’ Sasanka Patnaik told IANS.

‘We received the letter from the ministry today (Saturday),’ he said.

The Anil Agarwal foundation is promoted by NRI billionaire and chairman of Britain’s Vedanta Resources Anil Agarwal.

It has proposed to set up a multi-disciplinary Vedanta University over 6,000 acres of land near the Konark-Puri marine drive, some 60 km from here.

This not-for-profit university, being built on a global scale, has been envisaged as one-of-its-kind institution for quality higher education and cutting-edge research facility in 95 academic disciplines for 100,000 students.

April 17, 2010 at 4:57 pm Leave a comment

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