Vedanta’s zinc smelter plant in south Gujarat faces backlash by Adivasi community

The tribal community residing in Gujarat’s Tapi district had organized a bicycle in October to spread awareness among people about the harmful repercussions of a zinc smelter to be established in Doswada village. Back in October, Vedanta Group’s Hindustan Zinc Limited (HZL) agreed on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Gujarat government to set up the smelting plant, supposedly HZL’s largest. It is claimed to have a capacity of producing 300 kilo tonnes of zinc ingots a year. The ingots are used for galvanising steel for its protection from corrosion and for producing alloys.


Doswada village's residents and those of surrounding ones in the Songadh taluka claim that the smelter has been approached without their consultation. Majority of the residents in Songadh are part of the Chaudhary, Vasava and Gamit tribal community that depend on agriculture and animal rearing for a living. According to them, the construction of the project would really affect their livelihoods, health and environment.

The district administration did organise a hearing for the project on July 5 this year, but public gatherings were banned on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, a resident of Songadh stated. The members of the communities formed a group called Adivasi Ekta Parishad to raise their voice in favour of their rights. Allegedly, the EIA (environmental impact assessment) was also not shared with them. To make their claims factually sound, they had visited nearby smelters of Rajsamand and Udaipur. The residents of those areas reported poor breathing conditions and toxic water in the area.