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Indian firm in deforestation row

Source:  Copyright 2010, BBC
Date:  December 17, 2010
Byline:  Vinod Verma
Original URL: Status ONLINE

A subsidiary of the Vedanta mining group in India has cleared forest land apparently in violation of Supreme Court orders, the BBC has learned.

Papers made available to the BBC reveal that Sterlite Industries cut down the trees while constructing a new power plant in Chhattisgarh state.

Last year the chimney of the plant collapsed, killing more than 40 people.

Sterlite officials deny unlawful deforestation, arguing they have only cut down trees on privately-owned land.

Sterlite controls controls 51% of shares in the Bharat Aluminium Company (Balco) in Chhattisgarh and is also in possession of 1,751 acres of forest land.

Papers seen by the BBC accuse the subsidiary of carrying out "non-forest activities" in the area without prior permission.

The two government reports - dated October 2010 - said that trees were cut down in an area owned by the state government which is officially designated as forest land in ...

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