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

Reported by

Asha Verma

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

May 19, 2018

May 19, 2018

Updated on

May 19, 2018

Location of Conflict

Uchpinda village

Bandhapali Village

Janjgir Champa

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Thermal Power Plant

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

700

Households Affected by Conflict

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

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

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

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

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

Legislations/Policies Involved

Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006
Paragraph 2 [Requirement of prior environmental clearance]; Paragraph 7 [Requirement of public hearing prior to the grant of clearance]
Land Acquisition Act, 1894
Sections 5A [Hearing of objections from anyone interested in the land being acquired]; Section 11 [Enquiry by the collector regarding compensation and award to be given]
No. F 7-97/Rehab Policy/07, Ideal Rehabilitation Policy 2007 of State of Chhattisgarh (as amended), Chhattisgarh State Government, May 15, 2008
Clause 6.4 [In addition to compensation, any displaced family will be eligible for getting a plot of land]; Clause 7.1 [One member of a displaced family shall be eligible for employment in the industrial project for which land was acquired]; Clause 8 [The state government shall ensure that basic common facilities are provided in all the rehabilitation areas]
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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 compensation/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

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Arrest/detention/imprisonment

Displacement

Physical attack

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Yes

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/letters/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?

Communities/Local Organisations 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:

Image Credit:  

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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

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