District Administration in Odisha Forcefully Digs Forestland To Construct Pipeline for Distillery

Reported by

Sandeep PattnaikLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

June 8, 2021

Location of Conflict

Titerikata

Boudh

This is a Left Wing Extremism Affected District

This is A Schedule Five District

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Beverages

Distillary

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

2000

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

36

ha

Starting Year

2017

State

Odisha

Sector

Industry

The residents of Fakirpur, Titerikata, Bishnupur and Sanasubalia villages in Boudh district have been protesting since 2017 against a grainbased distillery, along with a cogeneration power plant (which recovers waste heat from power generation), proposed by Boudh Distillery Private Limited, a spirits company based in the district. The construction of the distillery in Titerikata requires 1,200 cubic metres of water to be taken from the Mahanadi river through a fourkilometrelong pipeline. The proposed pipeline will pass through the four villages, spread across 1.42 acres of revenue land, locally known as gramya jungle, including 2.39 acres of forestland in the above mentioned villages. The residents claim that it will affect their livelihood as they have been dependent on this land for collecting minor forest produce. On December 28, 2017, despite strong protests by the village residents, the district administration and Boudh Distillery, escorted by some 200 police personnel, forcefully dug out the forestland with the help of earth movers and started work on the pipeline. The villagers filed a petition in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) the same month, alleging that the forestland was being used for nonforestry purpose without the permission of the forest department, violating the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. Moreover, the residents of Bishnupur had applied for individual forest rights that are yet to be recognised, thus violating the Forest Rights Act. While hearing the petition on December 1, 2018, the NGT issued notices to Boudh Distillery as well as to the divisional forest officer, superintendent of police, district collector of Boudh, chief secretary and forest secretary of the state government and the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to inspect the unit in question and verify the allegations of the villagers and submit a report. The NGT also ordered immediate halt to the construction of the pipeline. On February 12, 2019, the NGT ordered Boudh Distillery to get the necessary permission from the forest department and said that the interim order of the tribunal cancelling the lease of the distillery would stay in place until permission was granted. LCW got in touch with Aswini Kumar Meher, subcollector, Boudh, in May 2021. He said: "People were agitating against the water pipeline that was placed below the ground. The Forest Protection Committee had been agitating against the construction. However, last month, the construction finished, and the issue has been resolved." LCW, however, could not verify if people have stopped protesting.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Complaint against procedural violations, Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources, Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

106

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

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, Environmental Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

  1. Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980

    Section 2(ii) [Authorities or state government can pass orders for use of forestland for non-forest purposes only with the prior approval of the Central government]; Section 2(iii) [Assigning of forestland to private parties or authority or corporation only to be done with prior approval of the Central government]

  2. Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006

    Section 4 [This provision provides for the recognition, restoration and vesting of forest rights]; Section 3(1)(i) [Forest dwellers have the right to protect and conserve community forest resource]; Section 3(2)(g) [Central government may provide for the diversion of forestland for the purpose of water pipelines involving felling of trees subject to recommendations of the gram sabha]; Section 5 [Forest right holders and gram sabhas are empowered to protect forest resources and wildlife]

  3. Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2003

    Rule 6 [This rule stipulates the manner in which the submission of proposals seeking approval of the Central government shall be made for using forestland for non-forestry purpose and further procedures]; Rule 7 [Committee to look into various factors and aspects and advice on the proposal received by the Central government]

  4. Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Rules, 2008

    Rule 8(b) [Function of the District Level Committee to examine and address claims]

  5. The Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996

    Section 4(i) [The gram sabha or the panchayat shall be consulted before acquiring land for developmental projects in Scheduled Areas]; Section 4(j) [The gram sabha or the panchayat shall plan and manage minor water bodies in Scheduled Areas]

  6. The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986

    Section 10 [Authorized persons have the power to enter, examine and inspect equipment, plant, or any other material object]

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?

Yes

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Non-implementation/violation of the FRA, Violation of environmental laws, Non-implementation/violation of the PESA, Violation of free prior informed consent

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Disposed

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Yes

Name of the adjudicatory body

National Green Tribunal

Name(s) of the Court(s)

National Green Tribunal

Case Number

Original Application 5/2018

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

District Administration of Boudh

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Yes

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Aswini Kumar Meher, sub-collector, Boudh, told LCW: "People were agitating against the water pipeline that was placed below the ground. The Forest Protection Committee had been agitating against the construction. However, last month, the construction finished, and the issue has been resolved.

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

M/s. Boudh Distillery Private Limited

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

No

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Sandeep Pattnaik

Reviewed By

Sandeep Pattnaik

Updated By

Sandeep Pattnaik

Edited By

Sandeep PattnaikLand Conflict Watch
X

Support our work

Your contribution ensures continuity of this crucial project.

As a member, you will get exclusive access to special reports, policy papers and research projects undertaken by Land Conflict Watch and behind-the-scenes interactions with the writers and researchers about their work.
Contribute Now