Vedanta Resources & Corporate Social Responsibility.

On 18 November 2009, Indian Express – Pune Edition – carried a Full Front Page advertisement by Vedanta Group. Timing of the the advertisement appeared fortuitous coincided as it did with coming to light through the efforts of activists, notably Himanshu Kumar of Vanvasi Chetna Manch – Dantewada,  of Operation Green Hunt orchestrated by the central government in consonance with state governments. Vedanta resources in the advertisement had projected its achievements in sustainable development & in the welfare of indigenous communities in the vicinity of the projects (there are no project affected people as according to its CEO, Mahendra MehtaNo tribal or anyone lives in the mining area and no disturbance to their life or displacements will happen. The benefits of mining automatically and immediately go to the local people in the vicinity“). Since specific figures were mentioned in it that looked impressive by any standards, I thought I will obtain them from Vedanta to put forward their facts in public domain for healthy scrutiny and to judge against them the claims made by many activists of harm done to local communities by these projects.

I wrote following email :
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Vedanta Resources,
Investor Relations and Media Contact
Ashwin Bajaj
Vice President – Investor Relations
Vedanta House, 75, Nehru Road
Vile Parle (East), Mumbai, India 400099 
Tel: +91 22 6646 1441 (Mumbai) Fax: +91 22 6646 1451 
Corporate Communication and Media Contact
Robin Walker
Finsbury, Tenter House
45 Moorfields, London, United Kingdom C2Y 9AE
Tel: +44 20 7251 3801. Fax: +44 20 7251 4112 
Dear Sirs,
I was happy to see your full front page advertisement in the Indian Express of 18th November. It is laudable you are endeavouring to turn India’s mineral resources on par with that of Australia, Canada, through your extraction activities.
I was attracted by your social responsibility initiatives. Since I am collating information in this area, I would request you to provide me with following details in reference to your a.m. advertisement.
·         Please provide State-District-Tehsil wise details 427 villages that are covered under community development initiative through education, self-employment, mid-day meal to school children, women employment, health & hygiene etc. It is indeed breathtaking that 2.5 million people are already covered at an average of 5000 dwellers/village.
·         Please let me know the local area development schemes that have been initiated in the past & at present out of the 5% profits committed to Kalahandi.
Thanks & best regards,
Sadanand Patwardhan

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When I did not get an answer, I repeated the message to which I got the following reply :
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Please refer to the following two websites, which contain all the relevant information on Sustainable Development that we provide publicly.
1). http://www.vedantaresources.com/csr/
2). http://www.vedantaresources.com/    click on Sustainable Development
Regards,
Ashwin Bajaj
Vice President – Investor Relations
Vedanta Resources plc
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Not happy with the information contained in the Sustainable Development Report (sdr2009.pdf) available at the links provided, I wrote back again
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Many thanks for your reply. I read avidly the impressive Sustainable Development Report – 2009 (sdr2009.pdf). I also looked on the sites for the information I had requested, but could not find it. Would you please arrange to have it sent at the earliest? I reproduce it below for your easy reference,
·         Please provide State-District-Tehsil wise details 427 villages that are covered under community development initiative through education, self-employment, mid-day meal to school children, women employment, health & hygiene etc. It is indeed breathtaking that 2.5 million people are already covered at an average of 5000 dwellers/village.
·         Please let me know the local area development schemes that have been initiated in the past & at present out of the 5% profits committed to Kalahandi
Thanks & Regards,

Sadanand Patwardhan

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To the credit of Mr. Bajaj, he not only responded but candidly admitted that information provided to public is limited…..
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The information provided by us publicly is limited to what you see on the websites and SD report. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide this level of detail.
Regards,
Ashwin Bajaj
VP – Investor Relations
Vedanta Resources plc
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It is unfortunate that extremely high visibility claims can be made in the public domain, but when details are asked to substantiate those claims, then information is not available in public domain.
O O O O O O O O O O
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3 Responses to “Vedanta Resources & Corporate Social Responsibility.”

  1. Medha Kotwal Says:

    Hey great work Pattu. Media watch is something that really shd be done on a regular basis by all of us to enable us to nail the lies. Thanks for info. Cheers medha

  2. Urmila Mohite Says:

    hi pattu, great work indeed! i wonder if this correspondence can be made public, or may be you could write about this in a daily, so that it is seen by more people. or is there a legal problem?urmila

  3. Sadanand Says:

    Urmila,I don't visualize any legal issues in stating facts, but if you saw an earlier post about Sebastian Rodrigues from Goa, who had a Rs.500 billion lawsuit filed against him, anything can happen. Even writing a blog is sufficient for that if it comes to the notice of powers that be. I am still genuinely interested in getting the details from Vedanta Resources so that I can show it to activists who say companies do nothing substantial & worthwhile for project affected persons. But I am willing to take the gamble if anyone wishes to publish it. I will provide the emails I have received.Sadanand

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