Adivasis Allege Forgery in Land Acquisition for Thermal Plant in Chhattisgarh's Raipur

Reported by

Asha Verma

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

June 24, 2017

June 24, 2017

Updated on

June 24, 2017

Location of Conflict

Bhengari

Boddavalasa, Tekilova, Bittara tonki, Bodikonda and Badidevara Konda villages

Raigarh

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Thermal Power Plant

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

120

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

405

ha

Starting Year

2009

State

Chhattisgarh

Sector

Power

The residents of Benghari, Khokhraoma, Katangdi and Nawapara Tenda villages in Gharghoda tehsil of Raigarh district have alleged illegal acquisition for a thermal power plant project. Between 2009 and 2015, Mahavir Energy and Coal Beneficiation Limited (MECBL) had reportedly acquired land for a 540megawatt thermal power plant in the region. But the tribes have accused the company of forgery.  Company officials had reportedly coerced Bhengari residents to sell their land. An Amnesty International correspondent spoke to Kalamati Rathia, an adivasi woman from the village, who said: "I had two acres of farmland in Bhengari, which I got from my father. A middleman for Mahaveer frequently visited us and compelled us to sell our land. One day, along with other villagers, they took me to another persons house where they took my signature and gave me INR 2,000. We thought that the company had purchased our land, but the sale deed listed someone else's name as purchaser." Similar incidents of forgery were reported from nearby villages where another company, TRN Energy Private Limited, used threats and intimidation to displace tribespeople from their lands. This led to the Gram Sabhas of these villages to pass a resolution against both the companies in 2015 and 2016. The resolution mentioned that their lands had been purchased through fraud and coercion. In a similar case of land transfer through forgery in Kunkuni village, on May 9, 2017, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes directed the Raigarh district administration to take necessary action under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in cases where adivasi land was illegally transferred to other people. The order followed allegations that over 300 acres of tribal land had been unlawfully transferred to nontribal people in Raigarh between 2009 and 2015. On June 14, 2017, around 150 tribal people from four villages in Raigarh came together at the district Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Welfare (Special) police station to submit criminal complaints against MECBL and TRN Energy under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. While the police accepted the complaints, they informed the aggrieved persons that a formal FIR would be lodged only after a preliminary enquiry to determine if a cognizable offence had been committed or not. However, reportedly, the villagers claimed that the police did not record the statements from many of the affected households. Amnesty International India wrote to TRN Energy on April 27, 2017, and to MECBL on May 3, 2017, seeking their response to the allegations. Both the companies have not responded to date. The farmers whose lands were taken away have been demanding the return of their land, while some farmers whose land was acquired at low prices have demanded better compensation. In December, the commission also directed the District Magistrate to present records for TRN Energy in Gharghoda tehsil in response to the allegations of illegal land acquisition. A 2018 news report noted that while the villagers continued to protest, the police was yet to file an FIR based on the allegations.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Complaint against procedural violations

Demand for promised compensation

Demand for more compensation than promised

Demand to get back acquired land

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Private

Type of Common Land

Total investment involved (in Crores):

2074

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

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

Legislations/Policies Involved

Land Acquisition Act, 1894
Section 23(1) [While calculating the total amount of compensation, the Collector shall take into consideration the market value of the land and all the assets attached to the land, including standing crops]
Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Section 4(5) [No member of a forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribe or any other traditional forest dweller shall be evicted form forestland under his occupation till the recognition of forest rights is complete]
Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Clause (v)(e) [Members of Scheduled Tribes should be provided in-situ rehabilitation in cases where they have been illegally displaced from their forestland]
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
Section 3(1)(g) [Whoever wrongfully dispossesses a member of a Scheduled Tribe from his land shall be punishable with imprisonment and a fine]
Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
Section 41(6) [In case of land being acquired from members of the Scheduled Castes or Tribes, at least a third of the compensation shall be paid before taking possession of the land]; Section 41(9) [Any alienation of tribal lands in disregard of the law for the time being in force shall be treated as null and void]
Indian Penal Code, 1860
Section 465 [Provides the punishment for forgery]
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Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

No items found.

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Yes

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:

No

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Involvement of national and international NGOs

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

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:

Mahavir Energy and Coal Benefication Limited, TRN Energy Private Limited

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Janchetna, Amnesty International, People’s Union for Civil Liberties

Resources Related to Conflict

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

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