Baghmara Gold Mine in Chhattisgarh's Sonakhan To Displace Over 10,000 Tribespeople

Reported by

Riddhi Pandey

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

October 13, 2016

October 13, 2016

Updated on

October 13, 2016

Location of Conflict

Sonakhan

Sonakhan village

Baloda Bazar

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Gold Mining

Gold Mining

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

2803

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

474

ha

Starting Year

2016

State

Chhattisgarh

Sector

Mining

In the firstever auction of a gold mine in the country, Baghmara Gold Mine in Sonakhan village was put up for sale in 2016 after multiple surveys. The mine is located in Kasdol block in Baloda Bazar district and has 2,700 kilograms of gold reserve. Vedanta Resources, which won the auction, was expected to begin mining in the next two years.  However, the mine was reportedly auctioned without consulting the residents of the 24 neighbouring villages, including Sonakhan. The villagers say they read about the project only in newspapers.  Consequently, the residents raised concerns about the negative impact of mining on the forests, biodiversity and water sources. They feared displacement, losing their lands and the impact on their livelihood practices. However, according to a news report, the villagers themselves stood divided as many nontribal households looked forward to the project for the job opportunities it would generate.   In March 2016, the residents came together to discuss the impact of the mines and decided to collectively object to it.   A year later, the state government revised the land area for gold mining to 474.3 hectares. The revision came after the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change directed the state Mineral Resource Department to exclude the area under an ecosensitive zone of Bar Nawapara sanctuary.  Meanwhile, the tribespeople in Sonakhan decided to apply for community forest rights titles under the Forest Rights Act, 2006. They also cited the historical significance of the village as the birthplace of an 1857 revolt martyr to avert the project. According to a 2017 news report, the villagers even approached the relevant state authorities to express their concerns, but the officials found their grievances misplaced and premature. Regardless, they continued to protest.  On January 20, 2019, the chief minister decided to review the permission granted to Vedanta for mining. Three days later, representatives from the Dalit Adivasi Manch met him and requested to cancel the lease. Following this, the state government reportedly suspended the company's mining lease.  But according to reports, Vedanta has continued to explore the region and undertake mining activities. In December 2019, the villagers took out a rally to protest against the visit of a survey team to the area demarcated for the gold mine. They allege that Vedanta had falsely claimed that the Gram Sabha of the affected villages had given a No Objection Certificate to the project. According to a news report, the project is likely to displace over 10,000 people.  Bipasha Paul, an activist, informed LCW that the district collector issued a letter based on the site inspection stating that there would be no adverse impact due to mineral prospecting work, which had been allowed on some terms and conditions to ensure this. As per an article, the finding may aid the state's decision to reissue the lease to Vedanta after the company receives the due clearances. On June 30, 2021, the regional office approved the diversion of 3.2 hectares of forestland for mineral prospecting in the demarcated mine as part of the Stage 1 forest clearance. 

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Opposition against environmental degradation

Complaint against procedural violations

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Refusal to give up land for the project

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

12

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

Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws, Environmental Laws, Central/State Government Policy

Legislations/Policies Involved

National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, 2007
Paragraph 4 [Social Impact Assessment to be conducted where more than 200 families in hilly areas are affected]
Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Section 3 [Rights of forest-dwelling Schedule Tribes, including entitlement over land and right to livelihood]; Section 4 [Recognition and vesting of forest rights, mentioned in Section 3, with Scheduled Tribe]
Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
Section 2 [Restriction on the use of forestland for non-forest purposes]
Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957
Section 4 [Mining to be only undertaken upon issuance of a licence); Section 5(1) [The state government may only grant licence to mine to Indian nationals or companies]; Section 8A [The period of grant of lease for mining of minerals other than those mentioned in part A & B of First Schedule will be 50 years]
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  4. 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.

    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.

  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.

    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.

  7. 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.

    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?

Applications were filed to claim community forest rights under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Non-implementation/violation of FRA

Violation of free prior informed consent

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Protests/marches

Public campaign

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

State Mineral Resource Department

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Vedanta Resources

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Dalit Adivasi Manch, Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan

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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