The spat between the Centre and the Orissa government over mega investment projects is continuing unabated.
After rejection of the Stage-II forest clearance for proposed bauxite mining by Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL), the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) appears to have trained its guns on the proposed Vedanta University Project (VUP) in the state.
The MoEF, which had suspended the environmental clearance for the university project in May this year over the issues pertaining to the alleged violations of Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) norms, has sought additional information and clarification from the state government.
In a letter to the state Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik datd August 26, the Union minister for environment and forest Jairam Ramesh has stated that the information furnished by the Orissa Coastal Zone Management Authority (OCZMA) is not adequate and more information needs to be submitted.
Ramesh has stated in the letter that OCZMA has not furnished the requisite information despite the reminder of the ministry last month.
The MoEF can place the VUP project before the Expert Appraisal Committee only after the receipt of the said information.
Ramesh has also stated that he has received allegations of violations of CRZ norms at the VUP site from MPs, MLAs and even a member of the technical committee of the OCZMA.
It may be noted that the MoEF had granted the environmental nod as well as CRZ clearance for the VUP in April this year.
The VUP to be developed by the Anil Agarwal Foundation has been envisioned to be a multi-disciplinary university of international standards on the Puri-Konark marine drive at an investment of Rs 5000 crore.
The university which will have an intake of 100,000 students will be spread over 6892 acres with a total construction area of 273.68 lakh sq metres.
The university will have provision for quality higher education and cutting-edge research facility in 95 academic disciplines.
Within the planned construction area of the university project, 1500 acres will be devoted to academic block, 1200 acres will be set aside for R&D centre and research work while 1092 acres will be earmarked for green belt and open spaces.
Besides, a township will be built over 2100 acres for the faculty and other staff of the university.
A sports complex spread over 100 acres and an exhibition centre on 100 acres of land are also set to come up as a part of the project.