Gond Tribe Opposes Iron Ore Mining in Zendepar Village in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli

Reported by

Bodhi RamtekeLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

July 2, 2021

Location of Conflict

Zendepar

Gadchiroli

This is a Left Wing Extremism Affected District

This is A Schedule Five District

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Iron Ore Mining

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

46

ha

Starting Year

2006

State

Maharashtra

Sector

Mining

Tribal residents of Zendepar village in Gadchiroli have opposed iron ore mining proposed in five sites in Korchi tehsil. Each site has been allotted to a different mining company, and all the five companies have been granted mining lease for 30 years. The total allotted mining area spans 46 hectares, covering the dense Zendepar forest. The forest, which is spread across 395 hectares, has been recognised as the customary forest of the village in the nistar patrak (an official record of individual and collective rights). However, community rights were recognised over only 117 hectares. The remaining land has been reserved for mining by the district collector without the consent of the _gram sabha _(Village Assembly) in violation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006.   The forestdwellers, mainly the Gond tribe, claim that mining activities in the forest will affect their life and livelihood as well as hamper their spiritual beliefs and practices. Zendepar forest is home to many sacred sites of worship for the Gond community, including the Rao Pat Gangaram Ghat and Kanni Mathh Pahadi. Mining operations, they say, will defile their holy places. The tribal community depends on the rich biodiversity and forest produce to earn their livelihood. Tendu, mahua and other minor forest produce (MFP) are their main sources of income. According to a 2016 survey by the nonprofit Aamhi Amchya Arogyasathi, the total income of the entire village by selling MFP was INR 3,48,200. In February 2012, the Gonds decided to boycott the local elections in protest against the proposed iron ore mining. This forced the district administration to give a written undertaking that no clearance had been given to any mining project in Korchi tehsil. Following this assurance, the people withdrew the poll boycott and voted. A public hearing was called in August 2017. According to Nandkishore Vairagade, vicepresident of the Iron Ore Project Action Committee, the hearing was organised only for one mine, but the idea was to clear all the proposed mines together. None of these mines have been sanctioned yet. In a notification issued in June 2021, the district collector, after receiving an application from the mining contractor, ordered the clearing of roads leading up to the mining sites. This would require the felling of trees, for which no consent has allegedly been taken from the people. According to the collector, officials from the Ministry of Mines are due to visit the proposed mining sites for which the roads need to be kept clear.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Refusal to give up land for the project, Demand for legal recognition of land rights, Complaint against procedural violations

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws

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:

Lack of legal protection over land rights, Non-implementation/violation of the FRA, Non-implementation/violation of the PESA, Violation of free prior informed consent

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:

Torture

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

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

Reported Details of the Violation:

According to village residents, police officials routinely beat up people on charges of being Naxalites.

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches, Public campaign, Boycott of official procedures/non-participation in official processes

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Ministry of Mines, Mining Department, Forest Department, Revenue Department, District Collector's Office, Police Department

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:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Aamhi Amchya Arogyasathi

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

Bodhi Ramteke

Reviewed By

Bodhi Ramteke

Updated By

Bodhi Ramteke

Edited By

Bodhi RamtekeLand Conflict Watch
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