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Vedanta faces protests at London AGM

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Activists will demonstrate against mining major Vedanta Resources tomorrow during its 2010 annual general meeting here, demanding that the company give up its Niyamgiri mine in Orissa.

Vedanta was reportedly denied permission to mine in the Niyamgiri Hills, home of the Dongria Kondh tribe who have been vigorously protesting against the mining.

The issue is now in the Supreme Court. A spokesperson of campaign group Survivor International told PTI that at tomorrow's AGM the company will be told by protesters inside and outside the meeting to respect the stance of both the government and the Dongria Kondh and to give up on the Niyamgiri mine.

Actor and Survival supporter Michael Palin, who has visited the Dongria Kondh, said today: "I am very disappointed that the decision to stop Vedanta's mine by India's Environment Minister is now being challenged in the Courts. Vedanta needs, once and for all, to abandon this ill-conceived project and respect the rights of the Dongria Kondh people."

Several shareholders have reportedly disinvested a total of over $40 million from Vedanta in protest over the Niyamgiri mine project and other concerns over the company's human rights and environmental record.

Asset manager Aviva Investors has declared that it will not support key resolutions at tomorrow's AGM due to concerns over the company's behaviour.

Stephen Corry, Director of Survival International, said today, "When shareholders are disinvesting, and expressing serious concerns about company conduct, it's time to reconsider policy. Vedanta should respect the resounding 'no' from the Indian government and abandon the Niyamgiri mine: it might go some way to righting its appalling human rights record."

First Published: Tue, July 26 2011. 18:33 IST