Gujarat: Bharatiya Tribal Party to oppose Vedanta’s zinc plant at public hearing on July 5
Bharatiya Tribal Party chief Chhotubhai Vasava, MLA, has called upon Adivasis of south Gujarat to attend the public hearing in large numbers to oppose the Vedanta zinc project
With the Gujarat government deciding to hold public hearing on Vedanta’s proposed zinc smelter plant on July 5, despite opposition by the Adivasi Panch, the Bharatiya Tribal Party chief Chhotubhai Vasava, MLA, has called upon Adivasis of south Gujarat to attend the public hearing in large numbers to oppose the zinc project.
In a video released on social media, Chhotubhai Vasava, who has been a member of the Gujarat assembly since 1990, appealed to Adivasis to gather at Doswada on July 5 to oppose the zinc project at the public hearing being held by the government. Although this being the paddy transplantation season, farmers of 91 villages within ten kilo metre radius of the proposed site of the zinc project would be busy in their fields.
Sarpanches of over a dozen of the 91 villages have already submitted a memorandum to the Tapi district collector asking him to postpone the public hearing in view of the paddy sowing season.
However, the government rejected their demand and is holding public hearing on July 5.
With Vasava’s Bharatiya Tribal Party and the Adivasi Panch joining hands to mobilise Adivasis of south Gujarat to put up a strong opposition to the zinc project, the public hearing is expected to be a stormy one.
Vedanta Group’s Hindustan Zinc Ltd (HZL) proposes to set up a greenfield zinc smelter in the state entailing an investment of up to Rs 10,000 crore. Spread over 415 acres, the smelter will be operational by 2022 with an installed capacity of 300 kilo tonnes per annum.
Adivasis are opposing the project because they fear the waste effluent from the smelter in the form of cadmium, lead, arsenic and sodium oxide will pose a great threat to the health of people and their livestock. And more importantly, it will ruin their fertile agriculture land.