Home Business Mining company Vedanta purchased electoral bonds totaling Rs 400.65 crore

Mining company Vedanta purchased electoral bonds totaling Rs 400.65 crore

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Vedanta Limited, known for frequent environmental violations across its mining and oil and gas projects in India, purchased electoral bonds totaling Rs 400.65 crore, according to data released by the State Bank of India (SBI) on March 14.

While some reports cited a figure of Rs 375.65 crore, this amount pertains solely to electoral bonds purchased by “Vedanta Limited.” Additionally, entries in the SBI data show that “Vedanta Ltd” also bought bonds worth Rs 25 crore in January 2022.

The company’s deals during this period, and Vedanta’s involvement in environmental controversies.

Is oil really valuable? Locals have doubts

According to SBI data from 2019 to 2024, Vedanta Limited alone contributed Rs. 375.65 crore in electoral bonds to unidentified political parties. Vedanta Limited’s initial bond purchase was Rs. 39.65 crore on April 16, 2019.

On April 25, 2019, PTI reported that Vedanta received environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) for expanding its oil and gas operations in Rajasthan, with a planned investment of Rs. 12,000 crores. Under its Cairn Oil and Gas vertical, Vedanta proposed to expand its onshore oil and gas production from 300,000 to 400,000 barrels of oil per day (BOPD) and from 165 million to 750 million standard cubic feet per day (MMSCFD) from the “RJ-ON-90/1” block in Barmer district, Rajasthan.

As per Vedanta’s website, the Rajasthan block RJ-ON-90/1 spans over 3,111 square kilometers in Barmer district and has contributed USD 23.7 billion to the national and state exchequer as of March 31, 2023, with cumulative production exceeding 700 MMBBLS (one million barrels of oil).

The website mentions that before Cairn’s discovery of oil in the 14th well, 13 dry wells were drilled in the Rajasthan block. It also highlights numerous discoveries and the organization’s focus on growth.

However, reports state that black gold has contaminated water sources, rendering them unsuitable for human and animal consumption as well as agriculture, according to local farmers. Although district officials instructed Cairn to provide drinking water to some villages, locals claim this was not done. Cairn/Vedanta denies these allegations.

After its initial purchase in April 2019, Vedanta continued buying electoral bonds, acquiring Rs. 10 crore worth on May 10, 2019, and Rs. 3 crore worth on October 9, 2019.

Oil remains valuable

In July 2022, Vedanta purchased electoral bonds totaling Rs 45 crore. In November 2022, they made a significant investment of Rs 110 crore in electoral bonds. A month prior, in October 2022, Cairn Oil and Gas received an extension for its Rajasthan block in Barmer until May 2030 from the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.

Less than a year ago, in July 2023, locals staged a sit-in protest in Barmer district against groundwater pollution by Cairn Oil and Gas. In the same month, Vedanta purchased electoral bonds worth Rs 40 crore. Despite the protest, it faded from the news cycle. Vedanta’s oil production continues.

Vedanta continued buying electoral bonds in late 2023, acquiring Rs 25 crore worth on October 6 and Rs 5 crore worth on November 9.

Just last month, the Goa Cabinet approved signing the Mining Development and Production Agreement (MPDA) with Vedanta Limited for its Bicholim Mineral Block in north Goa.

You might also be interested in – The promoter offloads 1.8% stake in Vedanta through open market sales, fetching over Rs 1,700 crore

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