The public hearing on the environment impact assessment (EIA) for the proposed Rs 4,500-crore alumina refinery project of RSB Metaltech Pvt Ltd in south Odisha’s Rayagada district was disrupted on Wednesday as several project opponents stormed the venue at Kiapadu, some 25 km from Rayagada town.
The project opponents did not allow peaceful conduct of hearing by the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), forcing the district authorities to adjourn the hearing. Though tension prevailed at the area for some time, the situation was brought under control.
“No clash occurred between the project supporters and the opponents,” said a senior police officer.
It may be recalled that EIA for RSB’s alumina project was also disrupted in 2011 when a host of affected people voiced their opposition to the project.
Sources said as many as 17 villages in Rayagada and Kalyansinghpur block under Rayagada district would be affected if the project comes up. A company official, however, maintained that there would be no displacement for the project that needs 1,500 acres of land. The project has the potential to generate direct and indirect employment for at least 4,000 people.
RSB Metaltech, a leading automotive components manufacturer, had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Odisha government in 2008 for setting up a greenfield integrated alumina refinery project in Rayagada district
The project envisages 0.7 million tonne per annum (mtpa) alumina refinery, 0.2 mtpa special grade alumina plant, 0.175 mtpa aluminium smelter, 450 Mw captive power plant (CPP) and 0.09 mtpa downstream facilities. The downstream facilities will include aluminium die casting, extrusion, rolling and forging. The combined investment for all these projects was estimated at Rs 6,800 crore in the first phase.
The company was contemplating to enter into an agreement with state-owned Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) to procure bauxite for the project.