Various organizations, community organizations and concerned individuals from different parts of the world collaborated at interface with the banks financing Vedanta mining company on September 22 2009 in London. Goa Federation of Mines Affected People (GOAMAP) from Goa was one amongst them.
It was felt that while we were struggling at local level and networking at National level, it was also important to forge international solidarity alliances mainly because Vedanta mining company that purchased two mining companies recently – Sesa Goa and Dempos is finances by various sources from different parts of the World. Banks are amongst the largest of Vedanta’s financers. Vedanta as a company even though headed by Indian is a British company and listed at London stock exchange. Meeting in London gave an occasion to participating banks to learn about all the environmental crimes as well as human rights abuses Vedanta owned mining companies were indulging into.
There are rising concerns about the Vedanta indulging in various parts of India. The most highlighted example in this regard is Vedanta’s aggressive policy of investments into mining and allied industry in Orissa. Niyamgiri hills are on the Vedanta’s target for mining. Vedanta has been facing increasing resistance from Dongria tribal groups whom Niyamgiri Mountain is sacred. Protests of various kinds by various groups in Orissa flowed into national agenda of protest against mining industry earlier this year when a group of activists successfully stormed the function at one of the schools in Shimla to reward Vedanta with Golden Peacock Award for excellence.
This led to the Salem meeting in August this year of various community groups from Orissa, Tamilnadu and Goa, as well as various supportive people located in Delhi. Here fresh networking possibilities were forged. London meeting was one of the things that was discussed and carried forward successfully from here.
In Goa all the affiliated groups were informed about the London meeting and researcher that has worked with groups in Goa for nine months and based in Cambridge University was appointed as representative of GOAMAP. Principle of transparency was put in action. All the letters via e-mail from GOAMAP informing its London representative about Vedanta’s behavior in Goa was shared with all the known groups and individual in India and abroad with e-mails simultaneously to trigger off wider process and discussions and to guarantee transparency.
The Goa representative H.Bedi based on this material and communications prepared slide show and screened it at the London conference. There were other presentations too specially from India and Other parts of the World. Adv.Ritwick Dutta from India, Simon Chase from Zambia and Roger Moody from England were other presenters. Meeting was jointly organized by three organizations – one from Germany named Urgewald and second one from Netherlands known as Banktrack and Amnesty International from England . Meeting was attended by nine banks from Europe. None of the banks from England and India participated. Since meeting was held under Chatham House rules, 1927 in international law the names of banks attended and proceeding of the meeting are legally protected from public sharing.