Government Grants Environmental Clearance to Parsa Coal Block in Chhattisgarh's Hasdeo Arand

Reported by

Riddhi Pandey

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

September 22, 2016

September 22, 2016

Updated on

September 22, 2016

Location of Conflict

Tara

Parsa, Kente, Ghatbarra, Janardhanpur, Fatehpur, Hariharpur, Salhi, Tara

Surguja

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Coal Mining

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

1395

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

905

ha

Starting Year

2011

State

Chhattisgarh

Sector

Mining

Hasdeo Arand is a large stretch of very dense forest in Central Indias Chhattisgarh. In this forest lie 30 coal blocks, of which three have already commenced mining operations. Parsa Open Cast Mine is one such block, covering more than 900 hectares of forest and agricultural land in Surguja district. The Parsa block operates under Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited (RRVUNL), a subsidiary of Adani Enterprises Limited, with an aim to produce five million tonnes of coal per annum (MTPA).  The tribespeople, civil society organisations and political outfits have vehemently opposed the diversion of forestland for coal mining. They have raised concerns over the irreversible damage to the ecology of the forest, its biodiversity as well as to the life and livelihoods of the communities dependent on Hasdeo Arand for generations. At the same time, the forestdwellers have been demanding land titles under the Forest Rights Act, 2006. In 2010, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) identified Hasdeo Arand as a nogo region or miningprohibited zone. However, the ministry scrapped the provision in 2011 and granted Stage I forest clearance to Tara, Parsa East and Kante Basan (PEKB) blocksreportedly under pressure from other ministries.  In March 2012, the MoEFCC granted Stage II clearance to the PEKB block for open cast mining on over 2,000 hectares of land, which was likely to affect more than 400 families in five villages in Surguja district.  Opposing the project, a local lawyer filed a petition against the clearance in the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The NGT directed the MoEFCC to seek fresh advice from the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) and ordered the suspension of all mining activity in the area till the MoEFCC passed further orders following the law. However, the Supreme Court put a partial stay on the NGT decision in 2014. It stated that mining work need not be suspended but that the rest of the NGT guidelines must be complied with. In January 2015, 20 Gram Sabhas (Village Assemblies) passed resolutions opposing the auction of coal mines in the Hasdeo Arand region. The resolution stated that the mines violated the provisions of the FRA and, therefore, they refused to consent to the mines.  In January 2016, districtlevel authorities revoked the community forest rights for Ghatbarra, one of the affected villages, citing the cause of disturbance to mining operations. The people opposed the decision, calling it unconstitutional.  In August 2016, the RRVUNL sought forest and environmental clearances for the Parsa coal block, which intensified the protests. The villagers organised several public meetings and appealed to the state and Union government to curb the impact of the mines and improve the implementation of the FRA and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996.  In December 2016, the company also applied to expand the capacity of the PEKB mines from 10 MTPA to 15 MTPA. The MoEFCC granted environmental clearance to the project in August 2018, despite public opposition. After much deliberation, on January 15, 2019, the FAC also decided to grant inprincipal approval to the Parsa coal block on the condition that the state must confirm the presence or absence of very dense forest in the area. Notably, the affected Gram Sabhas did not give their consent. Regardless, on February 13, 2019, the MoEFCC granted Stage I clearance to the project.  In defiance, residents of 20 villages protested against the governments decision in May 2019 under the banner of Hasdeo Arand Bachao Sankarsh Samiti. Between October and December that year, they staged multiple sitin protests against land acquisition for coal mining. According to Alok Shukla, convener of Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan, the settlement of forest rights of the Gond tribe remains incomplete.  However, StageII forest clearance for the project is pending, without which mining activity cannot start. But the land acquisition is reportedly underway. 

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Refusal to give up land for the project

Opposition against environmental degradation

Complaint against procedural violations

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

1960

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

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

Legislations/Policies Involved

Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
Section 2 [Restriction on the use of forestland for non-forest purposes]
Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996
Section 4(e)(i) [Programmes and projects for social and economic development to be approved by the Gram Sabha]
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]
Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957
Section 11A [Procedure to grant lease for coal mining by Union government; permit from the state government also necessary]
Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Section 3 [Rights of forest-dwelling Schedule Tribe, including entitlement over land]
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
Section 3(1)(v) [Offence of wrongful dispossession of a member of Scheduled Tribe from their land or premises]; Section 3(1)(xv) [Offence of forcing a member of scheduled Tribe to leave their house, village or other place of residence]; Section 4 [Punishment for neglect of duties under the Act by a public servant]
Section 41 [The section lays down stricter and special provisions for land acquisition from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, including requirement to make detailed development plan and to gain approval from the local authority]
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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.

  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.

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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.

  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

Yes

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

Claims for community forest rights were filed under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Non-implementation/violation of FRA

Non-implmentation/violation of PESA

Violation of environmental laws

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Violation of free prior informed consent

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Disposed

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Yes

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Appeal No. 73/2012

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Cancellation of Community Forest Rights under the Forest Rights Act 2006 for Adivasis and Other Traditional Forest Dwelling People for the Village Ghatbarra in the Hasdeo-Arand region.

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Protests/marches

Development of a network or collective

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change; Chhattisgarh Directorate of Geology and Mining; Forest Department

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Adani Coal Company

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan, Hasdeo Arand Bachao Sangharsh Samiti

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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