In 2010, the Birla Group and the Government of Madhya Pradesh signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), allowing UltraTech Cement Limited to set up a factory in Manawar tehsil in Dhar district. Since its inception in 2018, the project has been strongly challenged by the local Bhil population living in 27 villages that will be affected by the project. These villages occupy the command area of the Mann Dam of the Narmada Valley Development Authority. The Bhils fear that their irrigated land will be acquired for the project and that dam waters will be diverted for the factory.
In 2018, the state government relocated the villagers and acquired their land. Jai Adivasi Yuva Shakti National Convener Hiralal Alawa said that the Bhils were paid meagre compensation for their land, which was below the market rate. Activists like Prashant Patidar questioned the need for acquisition when land acquired for the Dhar Cement factory was lying vacant.
Since Manawar is a Schedule V area, the consent of the gram sabha (Village Assembly) is required according to the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996. Meera from the Narmada Bachao Andolan said that the government chose to go ahead with the project despite rejection by the gram sabha. She also said that the MoU's validity had expired in 2013. The protesters have also alleged the use of the 1984 Land Acquisition Act to acquire land.
In March 2018, approximately 10,000 villagers from neighbouring districts assembled in Sodul village in Manawar demanding the return of land and employment in the cement factory. They said that up to 75 per cent of jobs should be reserved for the local people.
In May 2019, according to a local newspaper, the state had promised 50 per cent employment in the factory, as per the newly amended state industrial policy. But in an earlier information given by the state revenue minister in the Legislative Assembly in January 2019, only seven persons were employed in the Ultra Tech cement plant three years after the plant was set up.
In July 2019, District Panchayat President Yogendra Singh Muvell submitted a memorandum to the subdivisional magistrate of Dhar district to provide information on whether projectaffected families were given jobs in the company.
Demand/Contention of the Affected Community
Refusal to give up land for the project, Complaint against procedural violations, Demand for employment, Demand to get back acquired land
Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:
Government of Madhya Pradesh
Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Ultra Tech Cement Limited
Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Narmada Bachao Andolan, Jai Adivasi Yuva Shakti
Legislations Involved in the Conflict:
Land Acquisition Laws, Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws, Environmental Laws
Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:
Out of Court
Name(s) of Court(s)
Nature of Protest
Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:
Reported Details of the Violation:
Date of Violation
Location of Violation
Has the Conflict Ended?
When did it end?
Why did the conflict end?