Norsk Hydro is considering withdrawing from a major alumina enterprise in
the Indian state of Orissa, where three opponents of the controversial Utkal
project were killed before Christmas. The planned Utkal facility was
supposed to be one of the most lucrative plants in the world for making
alumina, a bauxite-derived material used in manufacturing aluminium. Opening
is set for next year. But local resistance to the project has been stiff, and last month police stormed the nearby village of Maikanch, resulting in three deaths and 50 injuries. Norsk Hydro has been at odds with its Indian partner - the powerful BIRLA Group - and denies having anything to do with the police action. A spokesman said Norsk Hydro has always put human rights first and would decline to participate further if military protection is required.