Bhubaneswar: Hundreds of VAL employees and local tribal demonstrated before the main gate of Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) at Lanjigarh as their future appears to be in the dark. They appealed to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to save the industry from closure.
Uncertainty prevails over operation of Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL)'s refinery in Koraput district as the plant has been facing acute scarcity of bauxite. Yes, we are running out of raw material. The company is now unable to arrange bauxite from other states due to certain logistic problems, VAL's managing director S K Rungta told reporters after meeting chief secretary Bijay Kumar Patnaik at the State Secretariat here.
Stating that the factory was established in bauxite-rich Koraput district because of its abundance, Rungta said VAL has not been able to get any bauxite from Odisha.
The London-based Vedanta Resources operating a 1 mtpa capacity refinery plant at Lanjigarh since August 2007 required at least 10,000 tonne of bauxite daily.
Though the state government committed to provide 150 millon tonne of bauxite for VAL's plant, not a gram was given to us during the last five years, a senior official of the company said.
We have so far run the refinery by arranging bauxite from Jharkhand, Chhattishgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. But, now it is not possible to get more raw material from other states, VAL's Chief Operating Officer Mukesh Kumar said from Lanjigarh.
Stating that there was no stock of bauxite at the plant, Kumar said that though it is painful to stop operation, we do not know what will happen the next day.
Though the company applied for 26 bauxite reserves in the state, nothing was finalised due to different reasons, he said.
So far the company has invested Rs 9,000 crore in the project which provided employment to 7,000 people including direct jobs to 3,000, Kumar said.
We have set up the plant at a place where about 800 million tonne of bauxite is reserved. But, unfortunately, not a gram is available for VAL, Kumar said.
While the supply from Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh has been hit due to regulatory hurdles, sources said the demand in the export market has made sourcing from Gujarat difficult for VAL.