SC Concludes Hearing On Vedanta Varsity Land Acquisition Case, Reserves Verdict

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New Delhi/Puri: The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved the verdict after concluding the hearing of the case regarding acquisition of 6,000 hectares of land for setting up an international university by UK-based Vedanta group in Puri.

A bench comprising justice MR Shah and justice Krushna Murari heard the case since yesterday.

Senior lawyer Ayarman Sundaram argued on behalf of the Vedant group favoring the land acquisition and establishment of the varsity. The argument lasted for over 90 minutes.

Similarly, senior counsel Prashant Bhushan appeared in the court on behalf of Vedanta University Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti which is led by former Puri MLA Uma Ballav Rath.

Prasshant Bhushan contended that land acquisition would destroy livelihood of six thousand families as they would lose their fertile land. Moreover, the company’s move would destroy the sanctuary on the marine drive, sweet water source and sand minerals, he stated.

The company’s sole aim is to utilize the lands on Puri-Konark marine drive in various commercial purposes and not for educational purposes, Bhushan argued.

The lawyer further contended that the state government began acquiring land for setting up of a university by a group, which does not have the experience of establishing any educational institute.

He also contended that Land Acquisition Company Rules, 1963, Forest act had not been properly followed by the state government.

The bench heard nine petitions together including the pleas of Anil Agrawal foundation, Odisha government, Vedanta University Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti and the PIL filed by Uma Ballahav Rath.

Anil Agrawal Foundation and Odisha Government had challenged the verdict of Orissa High Court in 2010 in the matter.

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