Dalli-Rajhara-Rowghat-Jagdalpur Rail Project in Chhattisgarh Hit Multiple Roadblocks, Farmers Demand Compensation, Employment

Reported by

Asha VermaLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

September 3, 2021

Location of Conflict

Dalli Rajhara

Bastar

Kanker

This is a Left Wing Extremism Affected District

This is A Schedule Five District

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Railways

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

502

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

343

ha

Starting Year

2011

State

Chhattisgarh

Sector

Infrastructure

People in Kanker district have opposed the construction of the 235kilometrelong DalliRajharaRowghatJagdalpur railway line. The railway project, to be completed in two phases, is under South Eastern Central Railway. It will transport iron ore from Rowghat mines to the Bhilai Steel Plant. The first phase is a 95kilometre stretch between Dalli Rajhara and Rowghat. The second phase will connect the 140kilometre stretch between Rowghat and Jagdalpur.  The administration completed the land acquisition process by 200910. Construction started in 2011 for Phase I. Protests have continued since. The opposition stems from concerns about the impact of the mines and their infrastructure on the local tribal communities, their livelihood and forests. Reportedly, the project violates the Forest Rights Act as the tribespeople were ousted from the affected villages without proper recognition of their rights and fair compensation. Moreover, the project would result in the felling of over three lakh trees. The affected farmers have also demanded the compensation they were promised for their lands.  Since 2011, there have been several instances of protests, violence and intimidation by Naxalites in the area, according to a media report. This led to a delay in the completion of the first phase of the project. In response, the administration heavily militarised the railway line stretch to tackle Maoist activities.   All along, the village residents continued to protest. As per a news report, in September 2015, a person opposing the mines and the railway project was arrested for disrupting the public peace. There have been similar reports of harassment of protesting villagers by the police and Border Security Force.  In April 2016, the Ministry of Railways issued a notification for the second phase of the project.  In 2017, the affected shopkeepers and landowners protested and presented a 13points agenda, demanding compensation under the banner of Vikas Sangharsh Samiti. Following this, they were arrested. Later, they held multiple meetings with the BSP management to voice their demands.  In March 2018, farmers started to agitate against the delay in compensation, reported a newspaper. They claimed that the administration had promised fair compensation and employment for one member of each affected household. However, they lacked clarity on the changes in the policy adopted for compensating the families, which the administration cited as an excuse for not granting employment to several households. Reportedly, over 400 families were still awaiting their compensation package in 2018.  In January 2018, some of the affected villagers approached the district administration and filed a petition at the Chhattisgarh high court to demand employment. In April that year, the prime minister inaugurated a part of the railway track. In July, the administration announced the distribution of compensation to 108 of the affected farmers, amounting to INR 152 crore, reported a [news article](http:// , , 108 28.102 152 2007 11 95 201213 140 9 2015 , , Naxal Killed Police SI: Naxal Killed Police SI: 45 Coronavirus Chhattisgarh News: , Coronavirus Chhattisgarh News: , ). Since then, the project work has continued amidst ongoing discontent. In 2019, farmers raised concerns over the low rate of compensation. They were relieved when in February 2021 the Kanker district collector announced to expedite the process of granting employment to the 502 affected families. As per a news report, he stated that the district administration had sent a proposal to the Ministry of Railways and the BSP management to employ the members of the affected households. But the assurances remain unfulfilled. Land acquisition for Phase II is yet to be complete.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Complaint against procedural violations, Demand for employment, Demand for promised compensation, Opposition against environmental degradation

Region Classification

Urban and Rural

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

2538.3

Type of investment:

Investment Expected

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

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

Legislations/Policies Involved

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:

Non-implementation/violation of the FRA, Forced evictions/ Dispossession of Land, Controversial land acquisition by the government , Non-payment of promised compensation, Delay in compensation, Non-implementation/violation of the PESA

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

High Court of Chhattisgarh, Supreme Court

Case Number

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Arrest/detention/imprisonment, Other harassment

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

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

Reported Details of the Violation:

There are reported instances of harassment of the protesters by the police and paramilitary forces. In September 2015, one of the protesters was arrested and imprisoned for 12 days.

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Ministry of Railways

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:

Chhattisgarh Railway Corporation Limited

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Rowghat Bachao Jila Sangharsh Samiti, Vikas Sangharsh Samiti

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

Asha Verma

Reviewed By

Asha Verma

Updated By

Asha Verma

Edited By

Asha VermaLand 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