A key component of any of Vedanta’s community engagement programmes is continuous social mobilisation. Vedanta has a structured a 3 pronged approach of engaging with communities - proactively engaging with them, keeping them informed and forging partnerships to address their needs and concerns.
A Public Consultation was conducted, near the proposed project site in February-March 2003 at both Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district and Muniguda in Rayagada district. The venues of the public hearings were kept close to the community as decided by the administration. The two consultation processes were overseen by the Collector and District Magistrate, Kalahandi and the Additional District Magistrate, Rayagada, respectively. The public response to the Lanjigarh mining project was supported by the Sarpanchs (Village Heads) of each of the villages that attended the hearing to endorse the project. The minutes of these meetings are publicly available and were made a part of the documents that were submitted before the Court. In addition to this, the Gram Sabhas (Village Committees) were also consulted at Lanjigarh, as acquisition of private land was involved there. This consultation process was conducted by the Collector and District Magistrate, Kalahandi and the people supported the project. As a part of our ongoing engagement, a group of Dongria Kondhs were taken for a field visit to the National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO) mine site in Orissa, to help them witness and understand the mining process and the enriched green cover post the mining. NALCO is a Government of India-owned enterprise engaged in Bauxite mining, Alumina refining and Aluminium smelting since 1981.
We engage with the communities on an ongoing basis through our CSR teams, in conjunction with the Dongria Kondh Development Agency (DKDA) and the Kutia Kondh Development Agency (KKDA), bodies set up by the Indian authorities, to enhance the quality of life while conserving the culture of both the Kutia and the Dongria Kondhs. The DKDA and KKDA have developed a comprehensive five-year plan to facilitate the Indian Government's objectives. The plan is developed based upon the needs and priorities identified by the Gram Sabhas or council of local villagers of 62 village settlements, in consultation with local NGOs as well as anthropologists familiar with these tribes. VAL is working with these two bodies to facilitate the delivery of their development objectives, to the local community who currently lack any significant social infrastructure, including access to educational and medical facilities.