The public hearing at Lanjigarh to decide Sesa Sterlite Ltd (SSL) refinery expansion project concluded successfully in presence of district officials and the authorities of State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), a company spokesman said in a statement.

The public hearing was held by SPCB on basis of SSL's fresh application for environmental clearance to expand the refinery's capacity from one Million Tonne per Annum (MTPA) to six MTPA, Additional district magistrate (ADM) of Kalahandi Sasadhara Naik said.

"There was interaction with public on the issue. The statements and opinion of people of project affected areas in the public hearing have been recorded," the ADM said adding the public hearing was held in a peaceful manner.

The public hearing concluded ‘successfully’ in a peaceful atmosphere, the SSL spokesman said.

The company continues to hold on to its vision for overall growth of Kalahandi and expansion of the refinery will play a key role in achieving the same, he said adding people of Lanjigarh have now understood that the economic growth of the area will lead to their overall prosperity.

More than a thousand people attended the event and showcased positive attitude towards allowing SSL for the expansion, he said.

Sreedhar Pesnia, President of Lanjigarh Anchalika Bikas Parishad said, VAL is playing a key role in overall socio-economic growth of the area.

"Additional operations at the plant will mean more employment and economic empowerment of the people of Kalahandi," he said.

Binod Gaud, President of Lanjigarh Yuva Sangha said, locals supported the expansion of the project as it will open fresh avenues for the youth who for decades have continued to migrate to other states in search of employment.

Block Chairman Sasmita Majhi said people of Lanjigarh have shown immense interest in expansion of the refinery in hopes of employment and economic prosperity. SSL has played a key role in changing the district's socio-economic landscape and people expect the expansion will boost the ongoing growth drive, she said.

The public hearing comes as a boost for the aluminium division of SSL as people close to the development note that the state government is on the verge of allocating three laterite mines to the company to meet the immediate raw material requirements of the refinery, officials said.

The expansion of the refinery is expected to boost the overall industrial climate of Odisha, they said.

Villagers of project affected areas and elected representatives like ward member, sarpanch, samiti members, Zilla parishad chair person and local MLA participated in the process. Mitrasen Majhi, regional officer of regional pollution control board conducted the public hearing and ADM on behalf of collector was present.

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