Vedanta – rich because they’re nasty

Jul 24, 2010

The scum always rises to the top, and the business world recognises this as they sit and admire the financial success of this UK registered, Indian owned business that’s wrecking lives in pursuit of profit.

The mining corporation, Vedanta, has been aiming to annihilate some of the biggest mountains in the south of Odisha (previously known as Orissa) in its plans for extracting bauxite, the ore for aluminium. There’s been a campaign to stop Vedanta for many years, stemming from the grassroots campaign which grew up amongst the Dongria Kond people, the people who have lived amongst the mountains in question for generations and generations.

There’s a price tag on these mountains – roughly $2 trillion. No one has worked out the amount that should be paid to the indigenous people there, primarily because they’ll be in line for the going rate given to people in this situation the world over – fuck all.

The Dongria have started to pay for the mining operations. A hundred people have lost their lives in the campaigning against mining operations, a thousand have so far been displaced (or made homeless) by mining operations, agricultural land has been devastated and drinking water contaminated by the actions of Vedanta.

So bad is the behaviour of Vedanta, the Indian government, the natural ally of corporations and ‘wealth creators’ in India have asked a panel of the Environment ministry to report on the impact on the Dongria Kond that mining will have.

Vedanta floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2003 with the assistance of the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department for International Development, fully involving the UK financial sector in the reprehensible activities of the company. Not satisfied with that much help, DfID have gone further, promoting “Building Partnership for Development” which undermines the indigenous resistance to Vedanta. DfID also commissioned “Orissa Drivers for Change” a report that fanfares the ‘development’ that mining will bring to Orissa.

Mining bauxite is not a quick way to industrial development, the process of refining bauxite is damaging and will wreck a terrible future on the lands surrounding the mountains.

Why write again what Arundhati Roy says so clearly: “it is not just the mountains that hold the bauxite that will be destroyed, it’s not just the tribes who have lived in those mountains that will be destroyed, not just the others that will have to live with the dangerous effects of the toxic ‘red mud’ that is a waste product of the refining process, it also means that rivers will be dammed, forests submerged and of course hundreds of thousands of people will be displaced in order to provide water and electricity for the aluminium refineries”.

One would have thought Cameron’s government would have wanted to put a bit of distance between themselves and Vedanta, after all the Independent stated last month “If there were a “nasty company of the year” award, the FTSE-100 listed mining group Vedanta Resources would not be short of nominations”. They also said it was a good idea for investment because they make lots of profits. The scum, indeed rises…. The Church of England and the Norwegian State Pension Fund have both sold their interests in Vedanta for ethical reasons. Two weeks ago, PGGM a massive Dutch pension fund administrator also started to boycott Vedanta.

GR is working alongside other groups, particularly Indian groups in the UK in an attempt to echo the voices of Dongria activists in Odisha. Along with these groups we are urging everyone who can to attend the protest at the Vedanta AGM, in Westminster on Wednesday 28 July at 2pm It’s happening at The Institute of Civil Engineers, 1 Great George Street, London SW1P 3AA, just by the Treasury, nearest tube Westminster.

Please make every effort to support this action.


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