Bhubaneswar, Oct 2: In an effort to salvage operations and save thousands of jobs at Vedanta Aluminium at Lanjigarh, the Odhisa government has promised employees regular supply of bauxite so that the factory does not close down.
The development came after representatives of “Save Vedanta Movement”, an association of employees, met Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here Sep 29 and appealed to him for bauxite supplies and presented a memorandum.
“I’ll follow it up and take the matter forward in consultation with the chief secretary. All necessary steps will be taken,” Patnaik is quoted as having told the the delegation members, assuring them of bauxite supplies.
Bauxite is an ore and main source for aluminium. Odisha is said to have a supply of 1.8 billion tonnes of the ore in all categories as on Jan 1, 2010.
Earlier, the company had sent a temporary closure notice to the Odisha government and cited lack of raw material (bauxite) as the reason for the closure of its refinery.
“In spite of having large reserves of bauxite in the state, if Vedanta Alumina refinery closes down, Kalahandi will again become poverty-stricken,” the memorandum to the state government said.
Kalahandi district in south-western Odhisa is considered one of the most underdeveloped and poverty stricken in the country.
According to the company, the plant has given employment to more than 3,500 people and an equal amount in indirect services like bauxite transportation and unloading.
“If the company closes down, lives of more than 20,000 people will be affected. We want the government to take immediate measures for supply of bauxite to the company so that we and our region will prosper,” said Srikant Bohidar of Lanjigarh.
The company employees also cited the development of schools, hospitals and infrastructure after the start of the factory as key reason for socio-economic development.
The one million tonnes per annum aluminium refinery at Lanjigarh is the only industry in Kalahandi district. The factory’s foundation stone was laid in 2003.