Farmers Protest against Forceful Land Grabbing for Thermal Power Plant in Chhattisgarh

Reported by

Asha VermaLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

September 3, 2021

Location of Conflict

Uchpinda village

Bandhapali Village

Janjgir Champa

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Thermal Power Plant

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

700

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

364

ha

Starting Year

2009

State

Chhattisgarh

Sector

Power

In JanjgirChampa district, the construction of a coalbased thermal power plant has left the residents of Uchpinda village without fair compensation or settlement.  In 2006, RKM Powergen Private Limited signed an MoU with the Chhattisgarh government for a 1,440megawatt power plant. Following this, the government started surveying the region in 200607. According to official documents, the project would displace four families and 660 would be land outsees. Since then, the local people have opposed the project as they fear displacement and loss of agricultural land.  In April 2008, nearly 2,000 villagers came together to protest against the project with the support of civil society organisations, such as Dalit Mukti Morcha and Chhattisgarh Mahila Jagriti Sanghatan. The people reportedly vowed not to give up their lands and opposed the governments decision to acquire fertile agricultural land for the plant instead of finding an alternative. The public agitation also stems from past instances of displacement and destruction resulting from other power plant projects in the region.  On April 30, 2008, the district administration organised a public hearing for the project. Over 4,000 villagers attended it. Reportedly, during the meeting, the villagers were not allowed to voice their concerns. Subsequently, people registered their protest and burnt banners. The affected residents, with the support of neighbouring villages, also submitted a complaint to the chief minister demanding dismissal of the public hearing. Yet, on August 26, 2008, the environment ministry granted environmental clearance to the project.  The villagers also alleged discrepancies in the process of land acquisition. They have organised several marches, blockades and sitins to protest against the plant and have submitted complaints to the block, district and statelevel officials demanding action. But no concrete steps were taken by the government.  The project work started in September 2009. Reportedly, on the first day of the construction, there was a faceoff between over 1,000 protesters and company officials. However, the police force supported company officials in starting the construction and patrolled the area to curb resistance. They also allegedly arrested protesting villagers under false charges on multiple occasions. There have also been instances of threatening and physically assaulting the villagers.  In October 2009, the Gram Sabha passed a resolution against the project. Later, under the banner of Visthapan Mukti Manch, the villagers organised a mass rally in Raipur. In the same month, the police lathicharged protesters who attempted to stop the construction on private land of tribespeople in a neighbouring village, Ghivra.   On October 21, a delegation of Visthapan Virodhi Manch apprised the state governor of the situation and submitted a memorandum. But the largescale protests failed to halt the construction.  In 2013, Unit I of the project was commissioned. Subsequently, Unit II was commissioned in 2014. The remaining two units of the plant are also functional now.  But the people continue to protest against the unlawful settlements and have filed complaints with the district administration. According to the 201516 compliance report of the environmental clearance, the company followed the approved rehabilitation and resettlement. 

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Complaint against procedural violations, Demand for promised compensation, Refusal to give up land for the project, Demand for rehabilitation

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Private

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

5950

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

Land Acquisition Laws, Environmental Laws, Central/State Government Policy

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:

Controversial land acquisition by the government , Violation of free prior informed consent, Non-payment of promised compensation, Non-rehabilitation of displaced people

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Arrest/detention/imprisonment, Lathi charge/tear gas/pellets, Displacement, Physical attack, Threats/intimidation

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

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

Reported Details of the Violation:

The police lathi-charged villagers protesting against the arrest of Kesav Siddhar who opposed the construction on private land of tribespeople in Ghivra village. Next day, the police filed a case against the protesters. There were reportedly three-four instances of arrest of the protesters.

Date of Violation

October 12, 2009

Location of Violation

Dabhra

Nature of Protest

Blockades, Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials , Campaigns (Grassroots organisations/press releases/media), Protests/marches, Objections as part of official procedures

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Jangir-Champa District Administration

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:

RKM Powergen Private Limited

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Dalit Mukti Morcha, Chhattisgarh Mahila Jagriti Sanghatan, Vistapan Mukti Manch, Visthapan Virodhi Manch

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
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