Environment Ministry Delays Clearance to Gare Palma Opencast Coal Mining in Chhattisgarh

Reported by

Asha Verma

Published on

July 11, 2017

July 11, 2017

Updated on

July 11, 2017

Location of Conflict

Tihli Rampur

Kunjemura, Gare, Saraitola, Murogaon, Radopali, Pata, Chitwahi, Dholnara, JhinkaBahal, Dolesara, Bhalumura, Sarasmal and Libra

Raigarh

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Coal Mining

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

13074

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

2583

ha

Starting Year

2016

State

Chhattisgarh

Sector

Mining

In August 2016, the Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (Mahagenco) got a lease for an open cast Gare Palma Sector II mine project in Tamnar block in Raigarh district. Soon after, it started the process of acquiring environmental clearance for the project. The project requires an area of over 2,500 hectares and would affect 14 villages. As per its EIA report, the mines would displace 1,679 families in Schedule V areas. But the R&R plan has accounted for 2,245 families ousted due to the project.  Residents of the 14 villages and civil society organisations have opposed the project and have accused Mahagenco and the district administration of procedural violations. Reportedly, in 2017, the district administration attempted to coerce the Gram Sabhas (Village Assemblies) of the 14 villages to hold a public hearing and consent to the project by issuing an official notice. However, the villagers immediately launched an agitation against the administration. According to them, the coercion to hold a public hearing violates the Gram Sabha's autonomy under the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, and the rightful claims under the Forest Rights Act, 2006. They also reported discrepancies and misrepresentation of information in the forms given to them.  In April 2017, the villages took out a march to protest the violation of their rights. Subsequently, they submitted memorandums to the Ministry of Coal, the Chhattisgarh governor and the chief minister as well as to the district collector and block tehsildar. Reportedly, the sub divisional magistrate denied the allegations. Meanwhile, the villagers have also voiced concerns over the consequences of mining activities on the environment and their livelihood. They fear mining would affect groundwater sources and infrastructure and aggravate the issue of flying ash.  In June 2019, the villagers gathered under the banner of Mehnatkash Majdoor Kisan Ekta Samiti to protest another attempt to organise a public hearing.  On September 27 that year,  the administration made a third attempt at organising a public hearing. The people again alleged that the company officials tried to manipulate the proceedings and boycotted the meeting. The police reportedly arrested over 50 protesters.  On the day of Gandhi Jayanti, the protesting villagers joined a mass coal satyagraha against the mining projects in Tamnar block. Residents of over 56 villages sat on a peaceful _dharna _and voiced their concerns about the exploitative mining activities and the companies responsible for it.  In December, the Expert Appraisal Committee of the coal ministry delayed granting the environmental clearance (EC) to the project and demanded the company's response to the queries concerning the social and environmental impact of the mining activities.  In February 2020, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) observed that due to forest loss, major noncompliance in rehabilitation and social cost, it could no longer permit conversion of mines to opencast. This was another blow to the project.   In January 2021, the environment ministry decided to further delay the EC to the project citing the NGTs rulings. In May, the ministry sought additional information on the project and is yet to come to a decision. 

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Refusal to give up land for the project

Complaint against procedural violations

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

7463

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Environmental Laws, Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws, Land Acquisition Laws, Other

Legislations/Policies Involved

Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
Section 3(1)(v) [Offence of wrongful dispossession of a member of Scheduled Tribe from their land or premises]; Section 3(1)(xv) [Offence of forcing a member of Scheduled Tribe to leave their house, village or other place of residence]
Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
Section 41 [This section lays down stricter and special provisions for land acquisition from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, including requirement to make detailed development plan and to gain approvals from the local authority]
Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996
Section 4(e)(i) [Programmes and projects for social and economic development to be approved by the Gram Sabha]
Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006
Paragraph 2 [Prior environmental clearance required by appropriate authority for new projects falling in the schedule]; Section 7 [Environment Impact Assessment to be in accordance with the procedure laid down in Section 7]
Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Section 3(1)(a) [The right to hold and live on forestland under individual or common occupation for habitation shall be a forest right]; Section 3(1)(e) [Community rights of habitation for primitive tribal groups shall be a forest right]; Section 3(1)(h) [The right of conversion of a forest village to a revenue village shall be a forest right]; Section 4 [The Union government shall vest forest rights in all forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers]; Section 4(2) [No forest rights holder shall be resettled or have their rights adversely affected unless proper rehabilitation packages have been provided and free and informed consent of the Gram Sabha in the areas of resettlement has been obtained]
National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, 2007
Paragraph 3.1(b) [A family whose primary place of residence or other property or source of livelihood is adversely affected by the acquisition of land for a project or involuntary displacement for any other reason is an affected family to whom the policy applies]; Paragraph 2.1(b) [The policy aims to ensure adequate rehabilitation package and expeditious implementation of the rehabilitation process]; Paragraph 5.5(iv) [Commissioner to prepare a plan of rehabilitation]
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  5. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

Yes

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Claims for recognition of forest rights were filed under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Non-implmentation/violation of PESA

Non-implementation/violation of FRA

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Violation of free prior informed consent

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Yes

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

108/2019

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Arrest/detention/imprisonment

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Yes

Reported Details of the Violation:

The police arrested 50 people when they boycotted a proposed public hearing and protested against the project.

Date of Violation

September 27, 2019

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches

Boycott of official procedures/non-participation in official processes

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Objections as part of official procedures

Development of a network or collective

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Raigarh District Administration

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Limited

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Adani Coal Company

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

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Documented By

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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

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