New Delhi, Jul 6 (PTI) A day after violent protests by villagers opposing the setting up of a zinc smelter plant in Gujarat's Tapi district, Vedanta on Tuesday said its group firm Hindustan Zinc (HZL) will remain invested in the state and the proposed facility will contribute to the economic progress of the region.
A mob from at least two dozen tribal villages in Doswada in Gujarat's Tapi district opposing the setting up of the zinc smelter plant on Monday hurled stones at police personnel, who responded by lobbing teargas shells to bring the situation under control.
"Hindustan Zinc believes that a state-of-the-art plant can bring technology and economic progress to the people of Doswada and the state of Gujarat," the company said in a statement.
The company, it said, remains committed to designing and building an environmentally responsible plant that the people of Gujarat will be proud of.
"Our sustainability initiatives have been benchmarked and recognised globally and we will bring the same high standards along with our ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2025 and transparent environment disclosures to the project," it said.
Hindustan Zinc CEO Arun Misra assured the community that every step will be taken to safeguard the livelihood, health and environment and that the company will work along with the communities to support them to grow and prosper.
"We remain committed to continued dialogue with all our stakeholders," the statement said.
"Our guiding principle in all we do is to care for our environment and our communities and we will continue to make both these a distinct priority. The Anil Agarwal Foundation will bring Doswada in Gujarat under the Swasth Gaon Abhiyaan program and get healthcare to the doorsteps of the community.
"The program is a special impact initiative with Rs 5000 crore pledged to provide end to end healthcare solutions across the rural landscape covering 1000 villages in the country," it said.
Additionally, the group's flagship project Nandghar for children and women development will also be brought to the villages in the district with a focus on their health, education and empowerment.
The company will work with the communities to bring interventions that will enable better standard of living and enhanced quality of life.
The protesters had gathered at the site of a public hearing arranged by the Gujarat Pollution Control Board for the plant that is being set up by Hindustan Zinc in Doswada GIDC, an official had said.
A tribal leader who attended the protest had said people from at least two dozen villages had assembled to oppose the setting up of the plant over pollution fears, and they had demanded that the Gujarat Polluton Control Board defer the hearing for some time.
The state government had in October last year signed a pact with Vedanta Group's Hindustan Zinc to set up 'the world's largest zinc smelter complex' with a capacity of 300 kilo tonnes per annum, entailing an investment of Rs 10,000 crore, on a 415 acre area in Doswada. PTI SID SID ABM