The step by step build-up to pulling the plug on the controversial bauxite mining venture will reach its penultimate phase on Friday when the Forest Advisory Committee under the environment ministry is to take a call on the N C Saxena report recommending a ban on Vedanta's operations.
The FAC is unlikely to go against the grain of Saxena committee's report which is seen as well-argued. Importantly, one of the members of the FAC, Amita Baviskar, also happens to be on the Saxena panel.
The FAC's recommendation would then allow the environment ministry (read: Jairam Ramesh) to take a final call on aluminium czar Anil Aggarwal's ambitious project in Orissa. Indications are that Ramesh, but for a political intervention, will reject the proposal for a clearance to state-owned Orissa Mining Corporation to dig out bauxite for the Vedanta aluminium refinery project. In fact, the findings are such that they may even lead the minister to block construction of the refinery.