Mining and oil giant Vedanta ran a covert lobbying campaign to weaken key environmental regulations during the pandemic, OCCRP alleged in a new report.
The not-for-profit organisation said the Indian government approved the changes without public consultation and implemented them using “illegal methods”. Vedanta spokesperson did not immediately offer any comments. “In one case, Vedanta led a push to ensure mining companies could produce up to 50 per cent more without new environmental approvals,” it said.
Vedanta’s oil business, Cairn India, also successfully lobbied to have public hearings scrapped for exploratory drilling in oil blocks it won in government auctions. Since then, six of Cairn’s controversial oil projects in Rajasthan have been approved despite local opposition, it claimed.