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Dive into our Reports and Policy Briefs - for concise, insightful updates on land and resource conflicts shaping policy and decision-making.

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All Publications

Ballot and Land

Report

How land conflicts define communities’ demands ahead of general elections

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(Un)common Verdicts

Report

Analysis of Supreme Court and High Court judgements on common lands.

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Legal Terrain

Report

Analysis of legislations, legal loopholes and judicial interventions in over 600 on-going land conflicts.

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The Cost Of Green Growth : Land Conflicts driven by Renewable Energy | April 2024

Quarterly report

Our new quarterly report examines land conflicts arising from renewable energy projects. With ambitious targets to reduce pollution and generate cleaner energy, the report studies the effect RE projects have on the people, landscape and environment. It suggests possible changes to better protect vulnerable communities, shifting from current policies that favour corporate interests over local stakeholders.

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Justice: Delayed and Denied

Quarterly report

How a Supreme Court case verdict reinterpreted law against landowners

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Evicted: How State Action Left People Homeless

Quarterly report

Our second Quarterly Data Analytics Report is an in-depth report by our Legal Associate Anmol Gupta, focuses on land conflicts caused by eviction drives. It tracks and analyses 224 land conflicts across the country. Documented in the LCW database, these conflicts see clashes between local communities’ rights over the land and the state’s push to ‘protect’ such lands. The report looks at the state’s role in causing displacement and how that leads to communities losing their homes.

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Fortress Walls: Rights and Conflicts in Protected Areas | March 2023

Quarterly report

Our first Quarterly Data Analytics Report, written by our climate change research lead Mrinali, focuses on land conflicts in protected areas. Mrinali looked at 34 land conflicts across protected areas such as wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. Documented in the LCW database, these conflicts see clashes between local communities’ rights over forest resources and the state’s push to “protect” such lands.

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LAND LOCKED

Report

The report presents a comprehensive analysis of stalled investments and communities’ demands in over 600 ongoing land conflicts to understand what aggravates or helps resolve conflicts.

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Objections and Suggestions to the Draft Regional Plan 2041 Submitted by Land Conflict Watch

Report

In December 2021, the NCR Planning Board issued the Draft Regional Plan, 2041. These are the objections and suggestions submitted by Land Conflict Watch to the Board.

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Contested Grounds: An Analysis of Ongoing Land Conflicts in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal

Report

Using the Land Conflict Watch database of nearly 800 ongoing land conflicts in India, we analysed the impact, cause, and legal framework of the land conflicts in each of the states going to polls in April 2021

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The Legal Canvas of Land Conflicts: An Interim Analysis of Legal Processes Involved in Land Conflicts in India

Report

This draft paper, presented at a discussion forum of the Property Rights Research Consortium in July 2021, undertakes an interim analysis of 242 conflicts, demonstrating how research questions can be answered using the information available in the database.

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Land Conflicts in India

Report

An interim analysis of 289 ongoing land conflicts in the country. The study provides inferences about the spatial and sectoral distribution of these conflicts and how they affect close to 32 lakh people, thus revealing the structural flaws in the social, agrarian and institutional structures.

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Locating the Breach

Report

An analysis of over 700 ongoing land conflicts and a study of the social, economic and legislative factors causing these conflicts. It lays the foundation for future investigations and research around the political economy of land in India.

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Mapping Land Conflicts and their Impact of Human Rights and Investments in India

Report

Paper prepared for presentation at the 2020 World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty.

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Subversion of the Due Process for Seeking Consent of Communities in Land Acquisition and the Resultant Land Conflicts

Report

Paper prepared for presentation at the 2020 World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty.

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Changing Political Economy of Coal Mining, Rights of Forest-dwellers and Due Process in India's Coal-bearing Areas

Report

Paper prepared for presentation at the 2020 World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty.

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Roshni Act: Land Dispossession and Inequity in Jammu and Kashmir | May 2024

Policy brief

The Roshni Act, aimed at addressing landlessness, and funding power projects, led to allegations of favouritism toward wealthy and politically connected individuals. In the Hindu-dominated Jammu region, the right wing saw it as an attempt to unjustly favour the Muslim community—the narrative is that the union territory’s majority-Muslim population is attempting to dominate Jammu.

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Residents, activists claim new Goa airport construction has impacted water availability

Policy brief

Around 7,000 residents of six North Goa villages now routinely face water shortages due to the construction of the new Mopa airport on the Barazan Plateau. The government’s proposed expansion of the airport, if implemented, is likely to be disastrous for over 75,000 residents of Pernem Taluka in the North Goa district.

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A “Just Transition” from coal to clean energy remains a distant dream for Jharkhand

Policy brief

A "Just Transition" task force was formed in Jharkhand, India's leading coal producer, in November 2022. Its mandate was to ease the transition from coal to green energy while protecting the livelihoods of those dependent on the coal industry. India's commitments to shift from fossil fuels to renewables, made during COP26 in 2021, spurred the formation of the task force.

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The Amended Biological Diversity Act Puts Profit Over people | February 2024

Policy brief

The parliament recently amended the Biological Diversity Act, 2002. Set to come into force on April 1, 2024, the amendment changes the original law for ‘ease of doing business’ . The amendment excludes the traditional medicine manufacturers from the obligation to pay a small portion of their profits - Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) - towards conservation of herbs and sustenance of communities conserving these herbs.

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Green Energy, Red Zones: Land Conflicts in Rajasthan's Renewable Energy Drive | January 2024

Policy brief

The Rajasthan government has brought in several relaxations and schemes through policies like Wind & Hybrid Energy Policy, 2019, and Renewable Energy Policy 2023 to incentivise power companies to set up shop in the State. The former especially has made the availability of land easier for them through concessions and allotment of government land.

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How MP Govt’s VanMitra Portal Threatens Tribal Rights Over Forest Land | December 2023

Policy brief

The Forest Rights Act (FRA) recognises the rights of tribals and forest dwellers over land they have been residing in for generations. The VanMitra portal was launched in 2019 to make the review of rejected FRA claims speedy and transparent. However, the rejection rates of individual forest claims increased after its introduction. The portal had been dormant for months now. Many claimants alleged that it had not been working since 2020. There had been a lot of misinformation around the portal that along with a lack of people’s tech knowledge and lack of access to gadgets created a lot of confusion in filing claims. At the primary level itself, the power to accept/reject claims had been taken over by the FRC instead of Gram Sabha, invalidating the law that was meant to empower the latter. Awareness campaigns, robust site, easy interface, availability of an option to apply offline – all these and more steps can help the system become better.

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Ken Betwa River Link Project: Land Acquisition threatens livelihoods in Chhatarpur and Panna districts | November 2023

Policy brief

Land acquisition for the dam and compensatory afforestation will affect 14 villages in Chhatarpur district and 11 villages in Panna district. The Madhya Pradesh government will acquire 3,830 hectares for these works. Project-affected people have raised objections against land acquisition notices, alleging flawed land measurements and incorrect valuation of their homes.

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Forest Rights Act in Chhattisgarh: Adivasis raise concerns over receiving fractions of forest land on ownership certificates | October 23

Policy brief

While the current Congress government in Chhattisgarh has made its support for the Forest Rights Act a part of its re-election campaign, an analysis of data at the block and district level in the Udaipur block of the Surguja district shows that the area of land claimed for ownership by individuals does not tally with the area granted on their ownership certificates. The data shows a gap of around 10,000 acres between the two at the district level. This is an issue that can be observed across the state in the implementation of the Individual Forest Rights (IFR) provision of the FRA. The reality of having received small parcels of land as opposed to the actual area that they are cultivating has raised concerns among Adivasi communities.

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Failed Promises: The Forced Eviction of Bengali-Speaking Muslim Farmer Families in Assam | September 2023

Policy brief

Failed Promises: The Forced Eviction of Bengali-Speaking Muslim Farmer Families in Assam

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Conflict Over Coastal Resources: Impact of the Ban on Purse Seine Net Fishing in Tamil Nadu

Policy brief

A Flawed Conservation Measure : Purse Seine Ban Exposes Vulnerabilities of Fisherfolk in Tamil Nadu

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Preserving Tribal Land: How Land Grab in Kerala’s Attappady Violates Legal Safeguards

Policy brief

The tribal communities in Kerala’s Attappady block are facing the issue ofland alienation. Non-tribal settlers, primarily from Tamil Nadu and Kerala, are encroaching ontribal lands and claiming ownership through counterfeit sale agreements andforged documents. The tribal communities have traditionally held ownership of the land inAttappady; however, they have been unjustly labelled as “encroachers” bynon-tribal settlers. Despite the legal prohibition against selling tribal

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Setting up carbon markets in India: Powerplay stops decentralization, reduces state’s control over future carbon markets

Policy brief

A dispatch from the power corridors of the capital - In this policy brief, our researcher Prudhviraj Rupavath dives into the details of the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Act, 2022 and the implications of the proposed amendments that didn’t make it. Prudhviraj explains how a power move by the Prime Minister's Office stopped the Power ministry to decentralise regulation and administration of carbon markets and other energy conservation schemes.

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Valuing forests in India: A flawed system to compensate for forests lost to development projects | May 2023

Policy brief

A dispatch on the Supreme Court’s efforts to revise the value of forests in India - This policy brief, written by our Climate Research lead Mrinali, looks at the system through which project developers are mandated to pay the price equal to the value of the forests or Net Present Value (NPV). Despite previous Supreme Court orders stating that this value must be revised every three years, the NPV has remained unchanged for 13 years. Mrinali explains how the current system of NPV does little to discourage developers from taking over forest land. And how the logic behind assigning a monetary value to forests in the first place should be revisited.

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In Odisha, forest villages converted to revenue villages await final settlement

Policy brief

A dispatch from Odisha, which is considered one of the leading states in the implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA) - This policy brief, written by our state researcher Aishwarya Mohanty, dives into the status of FRA implementation in the state. She explains how non-consultation with key stakeholders has caused indefinite delays in the formal recognition of rights of forest villages. And how this non-recognition prevents tribal and forest dwelling communities from availing benefits of government welfare schemes.

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How misinterpretation of FRA by officials lead to the denial of social benefits to Tamil Nadu's tribals | March 2023

Policy brief

A dispatch from Tamil Nadu, the state boasts of a relatively high human development index but has also created obstructions that prevent some of its most vulnerable citizens from making a living - This policy brief, written by our writer and researcher Jeff Joseph, dives into the status of Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA) implementation in the southern state. Jeff explains how a lack of clarity of FRA among government officials has left tribals deprived of social benefits.

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How Gujarat’s Land Digitisation Programme Created Erroneous Digital Records and Triggered a Trail of Land Litigations | February 2023

Policy brief

A dispatch from Gujarat, which was one of the first states to undertake a rural land resurvey project - This policy brief, written by our Forest and Land Governance Researcher Prudhviraj Rupavath, dives into the rural land digitisation programme in the western state that abruptly ended, leaving a trail of land litigations in its wake. The mega resurvey project was expected to resolve land conflicts and create digitised records of land titles. The project, however, ended up creating fresh land disputes within families and communities across villages in rural Gujarat. Prudhviraj Rupavath explains how the private agencies contracted to conduct the surveys ended up creating erroneous digital land records triggering lakhs of complaints from aggrieved farmers across the state.

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The Manipur Loktak Lake (Protection) Act: How Indigenous Communities are Being Alienated in the Garb of Conservation | January 2023

Policy brief

A dispatch from Manipur where the local authorities had sent out a diktat to remove all floating homestays from the Loktak lake - This policy brief, written by our legal research lead Mukta Joshi, looks at the Manipur Loktak Lake (Protection) Act and subsequent notifications that treat traditional inhabitants of the lake as encroachers. On the same ecologically fragile lake, the state government has been steamrolling mega projects worth thousands of crores without consulting the local communities. Mukta explains how the lack of consultation with the local population is both in violation of international conventions and has led to the alienation of an entire community.

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