Damodar Valley Corporation Agrees to Relocate Ash Pond Following Public Protests in Jharkhand

Reported by

Alok

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

March 17, 2017

March 17, 2017

Updated on

March 17, 2017

Location of Conflict

Kuriywan and Banjhodih villages

Koderma

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Thermal Power Plant

Ash Pond

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

1200

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

121

ha

Starting Year

2008

State

Jharkhand

Sector

Power

In February 2017, residents of Kariyawan village in Koderma district led a protest for several days against the construction of an ash pond near their village for a 1,000-megawatt thermal power plant of Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC). The residents of neighbouring villages too joined in the protest, demanding the ash pond to be relocated.
According to official sources, the power plant had been running at half its capacity, with power generation of 450-500 megawatt because of the lack of an ash pond. Around 180 families in Kariyawan village said they did not want to give their land for a "polluting" thermal power plant and agreed to part with their land only for an agriculture-related project.
Despite the protests, however, DVC went ahead with the construction of the ash pond under heavy police protection as the Koderma district administration implemented Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code. This intensified the protests. On March 2, 2017, a deal was reportedly agreed to by the DVC and the protestors after the intervention of the Koderma deputy commissioner. An agreement was reached that the digging work would be stayed until an enquiry was held into the resultant pollution.
Koderma SDO Pradeep Kumar Bardiyar told LCW that a trench mark was being laid to earmark the area for the ash pond. "In the meantime, the district administration is trying to convince the villagers that the thermal power plant will not spread pollution and that it will follow the rules laid down by the Union and state pollution control boards," he said.
The protesters and activists demanded the authorities to shift the ash pond to a distance of 600 metres from Kariyawan village, but in the negotiations, the DVC said they will shift the pond to 220 metres away from the village.
In June 2017, the construction of the pond commenced.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Opposition against environmental degradation

Complaint against procedural violations

Refusal to give up land for the project

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

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):

30

Type of investment:

Investment Made

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

Yes

When did it end?

June 2017

Why did the conflict end?

Community agreed to alternative offers

The conflict ended with successful negotiations between the DVC and protesters. The latter had demanded the authorities to shift the ash pond to a distance of 600 metres from Kariyawan village, but the DVC announced that it will shift the pond to 220 metres away from the village. The construction of the pond commenced in June 2017.

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
Section 4 [Preparation of Social Impact Assessment report]; Section 4(4) [Environmental Impact Assessment may be carried out simultaneously with Social Impact Assessment]; Section 5 [Conducting a public consultation regarding the Social Impact Assessment]
Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006
Paragraph 7 [Clearance required for thermal power plant projects]
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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:

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Non-implementation/violation of LARR Act

Violation of environmental laws

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

High Court of Jharkhand

Case Number

W.P. (C) No. 3904 of 2015 and W.P.(PIL) No. 3659 of 2015

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

In W.P. (C) No. 3904 of 2015, Justice Anubha Rawat Choudhary of the high court held that the "writ petition is disposed of with a direction upon the Deputy Commissioner, Koderma, to dispose of the representation said to have been filed by the petitioner before the said authority within a period of eight weeks for enhanced compensation." In W.P.(PIL) No. 3659 of 2015, the Division Bench of Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Ratnaker Bhengra held that the "writ petition is disposed of as withdrawn. Nonetheless, liberty, as sought for, by the counsel for the petitioners is reserved to avail the remedy by way of civil suit in a representative capacity or in an individual capacity if anybody is aggrieved by the actions of the respondents and if there is a breach of the statutory obligation by the respondents. The court also directed the respondent­ state that wherever such type of allegations are levelled at least speedily certain samples ought to have been drawn under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and necessary action, if required, should have been taken by the respondent state authorities. They can also draw the samples henceforth from the respondent company and in its nearby vicinity and they are always at liberty to take action against the erring person, including erring company, in accordance with the law and after giving adequate opportunity of being heard to the concerned parties."

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

Public campaign

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

State Pollution Control Board

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Damodar Valley Corporation

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Pradeep Kumar Bardiyar, Koderma SDO, told LCW, "The district administration is trying to convince the villagers that the thermal power plant will not spread pollution and that it will follow the rules laid down by the Union and state pollution control boards."

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

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:

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