The Orissa High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition by Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL), and upheld the environment ministry's decision on the company's expansion plans.
The ministry had in October 2010 stalled the expansion of the refinery from 1-million-tonne-per annum (mtpa) capacity to 6 mtpa and captive power plant from 75 MW to 300 MW on grounds that the Anil Agarwal-led company had gone ahead with expansion while environmental clearance was still pending. The ministry had in August issued a show cause notice to VAL under the Environment Protection Act for going ahead with the construction.
Vedanta had moved the high court challenging the ministry's decision.
"A high court bench comprising chief justice V Gopalagowda and justice BN Mohapatra upheld the union ministry's decision and dismissed the petition by the company," said Lalitendu Mishra, a lawyer for the ministry.
The bench, however, said that VAL may submit a fresh application in the ministry for its expansion plan.
When contacted, Vedanta's chief operating officer Mukesh Kumar said that he was yet to see the court order. "We will take further action after going through the order," he said.
The London-listed group had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Orissa government in 2004 to set up an Rs 4,500-crore 1-mtpa alumina refinery at Lanjigarh, about 450 km southwest of Bhubaneswar. The Dangria Kondh tribals have been opposing the plant since it was set up on the ground of pollution and loss of livelihood.