Tribal India battles big business over land

Author: Amy Kazmin, Financial Times, Published on: 9 March 2010

Battles over forcible acquisition of agricultural land for industry are raging across India…[I]n India's tribal belt…indigenous…tribes, known as adivasis, have upset the plans of corporate groups such as Vedanta, Tata Steel [part of Tata Group], Essar Steel and National Mineral Development Corp to tap mineral riches…[C]ritics say that pro-business government officials...brazenly manipulat[e] public consultation processes and overrid[e] community sentiments to take tribal lands…These conflicts…are helping to fuel the radical Naxalite guerrilla movement in the tribal belt…"The Indian regulatory system is robust - it does not leave room for anybody to take advantage," says Mukesh Kumar, Vedanta Aluminium…However, the Church of England and several other social investors recently sold their shareholdings in Vedanta , citing concern for the way the company had handled its relations with local communities…Tata says villagers will be given "land for land", skills training and the promise of a job to one member of every affected household…"I think that development is something that everyone, especially if it's brought by a company like Tata, would find acceptable," says Sanjay Choudhry of Tata Steel...

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Related companies: Essar Group National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) Tata Group Tata Iron and Steel (TISCO) (part of Tata Group) Vedanta Resources