Supreme Court to hear Vedanta University's appeal

Supreme Court to hear Vedanta University's appeal
New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear Vedanta University's appeal against the Orissa High Court order quashing land acquisition for its university project in Puri.

The Orissa government and the University have challenged the high court decision saying land acquisition procedures for the proposed Vedanta University project were illegal.

The petition against the university, promoted by the UK based Vedanta group, said the proposed university project would cause extreme debilitating impact on the eco system as well as the local bio-diversity.

Congress leader Umaballav Rath had filed the first plea in the HC challenging the project, which was envisaged on 500 acres of temple land.

The Union Environment Ministry also put on hold the controversial Rs 150 billion Vedanta University project in Orissa following complaints of alleged irregularities by its promoter Anil Agarwal Foundation.

However, the Foundation denied any flouting of norms saying that the allegations were made by those with the vested interests as all the regulations were being complied with as required under the environment norms. It also said that to address the issue, it would submit all requisite documents to the authority.

"We are yet to start construction so where is the question of violation. We are ready to go ahead with the details whatsoever demanded by the ministry. We are sure to get the go ahead within a month to the ministry's satisfaction," Vedanta Group's Orissa project Vice-President Ajit Samal said.

The direction to keep the project in abeyance has come within a month of the Ministry granting conditional environmental clearance to the Foundation which is building the university.

While doing so, the Ministry imposed 50 conditions, including inviting of public objections to the project.

In the April 16 clearance, the Ministry had banned the Foundation from withdrawing ground water, restricting local fishermen from fishing and undertaking construction in the coastal Regulation Zone area.

Meanwhile, the Ministry has directed the project proponent not to proceed for any construction or development works till a detailed examination of all issues raised in the complaint is done by the Expert Appraisal Committee of the Ministry.

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

The multi-disciplinary Vedanta University is proposed to come up along Orissa's Puri-Konark highway spread over 6,892 acres of which 4,000 acres of land will be transferred by Orissa government to the Foundation.