Palampur environment award rakes up controversy



Palampur: The Golden Peacock award for environmental management proposed to be given to Vedanta Alumina company at Palampur has stirred a raging controvery as several organisations have a letter to people listed as jurors for the award, asking them to dissociate themselves from the “tainted” company and the award-granting UK charity World Environment Foundation.

Vedanta Alumina “has been at the heart of a massive controversy involving violation of rights of indigenous peoples, desecration of a highly biodiverse forest and watershed, and the highly irregular lenience shown by courts and the government to blatant violations of the law in setting up and operating the smelter,” according to the letter. The company operates an alumina refinery in Lanjigarh, and proposes to mine the biodiverse Niyamgiri hills that are sacred to the primitive Dongria Kondh tribespeople.

The website for the Awards ( lists 37 eminent people as jurors, including three former Supreme Court judges, and several former and current bureaucrats. Given WEF’s past track record of allegedly listing eminent people as jurors without their consent, the letter addressed to the jurors intimated them of their status as jurors of the award and presented them with evidence about Vedanta and its subsidiaries’ dubious track record with regard to environmental management, respect for the rule of law, financial integrity and sensitivity to the rights of indigenous peoples.

The letter is accompanied by a dossier documenting the wrong-doings of the company and its sister and parent concerns. In 2007, the Norwegian Government withdrew investments of public funds from Vedanta stocks after its Council of Ethics concluded that Vedanta and subsidiary Vedanta Alumina were involved in environmental and human rights violations.

The Golden Peacock Awards 2009 is to be held in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, on 13 June, 2009, in the midst of a global convention on climate security. In January 2009, WEF withdrew the Golden Peacock Award given to Satyam Computers last September, literally days before the company submitted
its fraudulent balance sheet to shareholders. “We do not expect any integrity from the organisers of the Golden Peacock Awards. However, many of the jury members are persons of good reputation and integrity. We are concerned that your decision may have been arrived at in the absence of full information. We would also like to give you an opportunity to review some disturbing information regarding the conduct of Vedanta and its subsidiaries, and to dissociate yourselves
from the award to Vedanta to avoid a Satyam-style embarrassment,” endorsers to the letter to jurors wrote.

Signatories to the letter include Himalay Niti Abhiyan, Kashipur Solidarity Group, POSCO Pratirodh Solidarity, NFFPFW, PUDR, Saheli, The Other Media and Harit Swaraj Abhiyan among other.

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  1. A similar event happened a few years ago when a pvt. co. suddenly announced last min Env Awards for the media at Peterhoff and sadly media as 'bhola-bhala' Himachalis fell prey to the nefarious marketing designs of this company!

    They invited the CM who didn't come at the last moment…?! May Shimla gets over excited to many such events as there's nothing much to speak/do otherwise.

  2. golden peacock awards jury & madhav mehra got almost scott free after satyam was awarded the so called "award"..but this time it seems the WEF and madhav mehra has got his due. a normal search on his name reveals shocking articles against him in leading international newspapers. after looting fopreign countries, he has targetted our himachal..people like him and his organisations should be banned. is govt. of india listening. SHAME ON GOLDEN PEACOCK AWARDS..its time to put the peacock to sleep, forever..

  3. “calling the atention of all tainted companies..kindly pay us money and we promise you the highest award in India” seems to be the mantra of golden peacock awards jury. should be hanged..

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