Do you remember the 18 deaths and injury to 1,246 people involving your own employees and contractors in 2007 due to unsafe mining operations by your company? Well, did you compensate them?
The Executive Chairman,
Vile Parle (East),
We hear your family and you have pledged to donate 75 percent of your $3.3 billion wealth to a charity. Many newspapers were praising you in big bold letters making you look like a hero of some sort.
Reports mentioned that you were “aiming to give back to the society” from where you got it all.
At Vedanta’s 10th anniversary celebrations of being listed on the London Stock Exchange, on September 25, you were also quoted mentioning in media that “My family supports my decision that 75 per cent of our wealth, which we gain as economic benefit, should be returned to society.”
“It is important to give back what we earn for the greater good of the society, community programmes that work towards eradication of poverty, child welfare and women empowerment will be our focus for communities at large in our country,” were also your words to a few journalists.
This pledge comes to an absorbing figure of $2.6 billion or about INR 15,900 crores. Well, Victor Hugo once said, “As the purse is emptied, the heart is filled.” But is it really so?
Vedanta Resources has always been marred by controversies. It has been criticised by human rights and activist groups, including Survival International, Amnesty International and Niyamgiri Surakshya Samiti. The company’s operations in Niyamgiri Hills, Orissa, India are said to threaten the lives of the Dongria Kondh tribe who dwell in this region.
This calls for a clarification from you for a series of questions.
You planned to mine bauxite in eastern India in the teeth of opposition by local tribes.
What considerations did you make with regards to the harm the mining will do to the local environment and tribal culture?Or did you have a plan in place to give back the money you earned to the local tribal society?
We’re sure you remember the 18 deaths and injury to 1,246 people involving your own employees and contractors in 2007 due to unsafe mining operations by your company.What was your contribution towards a plan (?) for compensating them?
In September 2010, when the Union ministry of environment and forests had refused to allow the company to mine bauxite in Orissa’s Niyamgiri hill, to which, your disappointment and disagreement had come through very strongly.
According to Centre for Science and Environment, “The quest to resolve all disagreements regarding the company’s Lanjigarh alumina refinery project and its mining rights had brought none less than the Orissa chief minister scurrying to Delhi — to convince the prime minister to push forward the controversial industrial project. The prime minister did not oblige.”
So, would it be safer to say that you did not hear the plight of the people as your business empire had most of your attention?Now exactly after four years, you are believed to have met Orissa chief minister Navin Patnaik again on September 8 to discuss over supply of raw material to Lanjigarh plant. And it comes at a time when your company is tangled in multiple troubles.
According to Orissa Diary, you mentioned that the state government has assured to resolve the raw material crisis being faced by the Lanjigrah Alumina Refinery in Kalahandi district soon to ensure that the plant runs to its full capacity.
So, wouldn’t it be an inappropriate time for a charity when you are more inclined towards ignoring the human race for the sake of business?
Nevertheless this charity places you among the likes of Azim Premji and Warren Buffett.
Is this charity another claim to fame? Or a compensation in an indirect form to the people who suffered because of your growing business empire and worldly ambitions?
We urge you to clarify these rumoured controversies, and define charity in its real sense. Until then, the charity shall remain like an unanswered suspicion in the minds of many
A Concerned Citizen