Gevra Coal Mine in Chhattisgarh Gets Environmental Clearance despite Public Opposition

Reported by

Riddhi Pandey

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

October 19, 2016

October 19, 2016

Updated on

October 19, 2016

Location of Conflict

Gevra village

Bithora

Korba

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Coal Mining

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

5000

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

4184

ha

Starting Year

2016

State

Chhattisgarh

Sector

Mining

In Korba district, residents of over 18 villages have opposed the Gevra Coal Mine. Operational since 1981, this mine is one of the three in the Gevra Open Cast Coal Block. South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL), a subsidiary of Coal India Limited, operates this mine spread over 4,000 hectares of land. According to official documents, the project has affected more than 3,300 families in 18 villages, of which over 2,000 have been displaced. In 2012, SELC proposed to increase the production capacity of the mine from 35 metric tonne per annum (MTPA) to 41 MTPA. The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change accepted the proposal in 2014. In 2015, the ministry granted environmental clearance (EC) to the project, following which the protests have intensified. There seem to be three main points of contention. First, many of the projectaffected families (PAFs) have claimed that the company has failed to compensate or provide employment and land according to the promised Rehabilitation and Resettlement plan for the existing mine. Second, they have accused the company of violating the Forest Rights Act, the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act and the Coal Bearing Areas Act. They also raised objections to the procedural violations in conducting the public hearing, held in August 2008, for the expansion plans. They have also raised concerns about the increasing levels of pollution due to mining, blasting and transportation activities. The opposition also stems from the negative impact of mining on the neighbouring villages.  Before the EC was granted, Amnesty International claimed in 2014 that the company had started demolishing households without offering proper compensation. According to a media report, the PAFs were unhappy with the compensation package offered.  On May 2, 2016, over 670 people from 41 villages gathered at the Gevra mining site to protest against SELC projects in the block. They protested against the alleged illegal land acquisition and demanded employment, rehabilitation and compensation as per the 2013 Land Acquisition Act. The police arrested protesters for halting the mining work.  In February 2018, a delegation of protesting villagers held a meeting with the district administration to list their concerns and demands. The administration reassured them and claimed that the villages chosen for rehabilitation would provide all the basic amenities and public infrastructure to the affected families, reported a newspaper. On February 21, 2018, SELC again got an EC to expand the mining capacity.  On June 18 that year, the Chhattisgarh high court ruled in favour of nine villagers demanding compensation for the land acquired for the Gevra project and directed the SELC to compensate the petitioners.  In 2019, SELC again applied to increase the capacity of the mine to 49 MTPA.  In June that year, the Expert Appraisal Committee of the environment ministry recommended the Chhattisgarh Environment Conservation Board to seek feedback from the local stakeholders by issuing public notices, observing that the last public hearing was held in 2008. However, villagers allege that no such notifications were issued. In January 2020, the residents of Raliya village submitted their comments on the project, but the administration allegedly ignored them.  In March, the residents of Bhathora village stopped the coal mine work and reasserted their demands. They threatened to continue their agitation if the authorities did not address their concerns. Reportedly, security forces had to intervene to control the protests. In May 2021, the environment ministry granted EC to SELC to expand the mining capacity to 49 MTPA. SELC now reportedly plans to reapply to increase the capacity to 70 MPTA. 

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for rehabilitation

Complaint against procedural violations

Opposition against environmental degradation

Demand for employment

Demand for promised compensation

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Refusal to give up land for the project

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

11816.4

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

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

Legislations/Policies Involved

Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015
Section 21 [Provisions of LARR Act, 2013, shall apply for acquisition of land]
Electricity Act, 2003
Section 7 [Persons carrying on industry, operation, etc. not to allow emission or discharge of environmental pollutants in excess of the standards]; Section 3-B [The combined effect of emission or discharge of environmental pollutants in an area from industries, operations, processes, automobiles and domestic sources shall not be permitted to exceed the relevant concentration in ambient air]
Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006
Paragraph 2 [Prior environmental clearance required by appropriate authority for new projects falling in the schedule]; Section 7 [Environment Impact Assessment to be in accordance with the procedure laid in Section 7, which includes public hearing]
Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957
Section 6 [When coal is likely to be obtained from land in a locality, the competent shall pay in advance compensation for all damage likely to be caused]
Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996
Section 4(i) [Gram Sabha or panchayat to be consulted before land acquisition and rehabilitation]
Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
Section 27 [Amount of compensation is determined under this section]; Section 77 [Compensation is to be paid under this section]; Section 80 [Under this section, when compensation is not paid or if there is delay, interest becomes payable]; Second Schedule, Paragraphs 1, 5, 6, 10 and 11 [Displaced families entitled to either housing units or compensation, displaced families entitled to a subsistence grant, transportation costs, a one-time resettlement allowance, and any stamp duty or registration charges for the new housing units are to be borne by the entity responsible for the displacement]
  1. 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.

    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.

  2. 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.

    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.

  3. 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.

    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.

  4. 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.

    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.

  5. 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.

    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.

  6. 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.

    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.

  7. 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.

    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:

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Non-implmentation/violation of PESA

Non-payment of compensation/promised compensation

Non-rehabilitation of displaced people

Violation of free prior informed consent

Delay in compensation

Non-implementation/violation of LARR Act

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Disposed

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

High Court of Chhattisgarh

Case Number

W.P. (C) 1602/2018

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Displacement

Arrest/detention/imprisonment

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Yes

Reported Details of the Violation:

Before the protests of May 2, 2016, the Korba district administration had imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code. This led to the arrest of 679 farmers, along with MLA Jaisingh Agarwal, all of whom were later released.

Date of Violation

May 2, 2016

Location of Violation

Gevra mining site

Nature of Protest

Blockades

Protests/marches

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Chhattisgarh Environment Conservation Board

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:

South Eastern Coalfields Limited

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Sarthak Srijanatmak Sanstha, Janabhivyakti

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

Image Credit:  

Documented By

Text Link

Reviewed By

Text Link

Updated By

Text Link

Edited By

Text LinkLand 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.
Join Now