Farmers, Activists Oppose Kharun Riverfront Development Project in Chhattisgarh, Fear Ecological Damage

Reported by

Riddhi Pandey

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

October 17, 2016

October 17, 2016

Updated on

October 17, 2016

Location of Conflict

Mahadev Ghat

Bhathagaon, Raipura, Sarona, Chandandih, Atari, Hathbandh, Gomchi, Guma and Bana villages from Raipur district, and Khudmuda, Amleshwar, Bhothali, Magarghata, Kumhari, Kapasda and Akola in Durg district

Raipur

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Tourism

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

8766

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

1193

ha

Starting Year

2015

State

Chhattisgarh

Sector

Industry

As part of the Raipur Master Plan, the Chhattisgarh government has planned the Kharun Riverfront Development Project. The project is modelled on the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project in Gujarat and would spread over the riverbank in Raipur and Durg districts. To this end, the government announced an integrated plan in September 2015. In the same year, the survey work for the project also started. The proposed project will require over 1,100 hectares of land from 22 villages, which would affect the lives of at least 50 per cent of the population. The local people and civil society outfits have opposed the project and said that the state planned it without studying the impact on the ecosystem. In January 2016, farmers from the villages on both sides of the river organised themselves under the banner of Rashtriya Kisan Kranti Morcha (RKKM) to oppose the land acquisition for the project. They claimed that they did not receive prior information about the project and also objected to the low rate of compensation. In the same month, the chief minister informed the State Assembly that the government did not plan to acquire private land and would only use government land for the project. But the RKKM president accused the state government of acquiring cultivable land, which formed 76 per cent of the project land. In March, the affected farmers organised a protest at Mahadev Ghat in Raipur. Since then, there have been multiple organised rallies, panchayat meetings, jal satyagrahas as well as FIRs. As a result, the Raipur Development Authority decided to set up a separate body to manage the development project, namely Special Area Development Authority (SADA). However, the protests ended after the state government suspended the project and decided not to formulate SADA. The decision reportedly came in response to the high compensatory cost for over 900 hectares of private land. But this did not put a complete stop to other projectrelated activities.   According to a 2017 academic research paper (see attached documents), the riverfront development would lead to changes in the landuse pattern of the project area. It would restrict access to water bodies and impact the livelihoods of people dependent on the river. The project proposed to tackle the pollution of the river caused by the unregulated drainage of sewage. However, the villagers, experts and activists fear that the development is only purposed for commercial and tourist gains and would further degrade the river and intrude upon its natural course. Therefore, they raised concerns about the ecological, economic and social implications of the project. They widely argued that the government should divert its focus to conserving the river and consider the interests of the communities residing on its banks.  Following the election of the new state government in December 2018, the project again picked up pace after almost three years. In September 2020, the administration announced a plan to construct a bridge to connect the villages on either side of the river. The administration envisions the bridge to be like a marine drive, spread over nine kilometres between Mahadev Ghat and Bhothali village.  Earlier in the year, the planning committee visited the riverfront with other state officials and proposed the area for construction. They also plan to beautify and increase the green cover. 

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Opposition against environmental degradation

Refusal to give up land for the project

Demand for more compensation than promised

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Urban and Rural

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

2000

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

Legislations/Policies Involved

Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006
Clause 7(III) [Prior to the grant of a clearance, a public consultation shall be conducted where the concerns of the affected persons and those who have a stake in the environmental impact of the project are ascertained and taken into account]
Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
Section 24 [No person shall knowingly cause any polluting matter to be discharged into any stream or well or on land]
Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996
Section 4(i) [The Gram Sabha shall be consulted before any land is acquired in Scheduled Areas for development projects]
Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
Section 41 [In case of land acquisition in any Scheduled Area, the prior consent of the Gram Sabha shall be obtained]
Chhattisgarh Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Social Impact Assessment, Consent and Public Hearing) Rules, 2016
Rule 8 [The Gram Sabha shall be consulted before initiating the process of land acquisition in Scheduled Areas]; Rule 9 [The objections raised by Gram Sabha should be heard by the Collector and disposed of before land acquisition]
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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

Non-implmentation/violation of PESA

Non-implementation/violation of LARR Act

Violation of free prior informed consent

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

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:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Development of a network or collective

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Raipur District Administration, Raipur Development Authority

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

WAPCOS Limited

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Beyond Built Private Limited

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Kisan Kranti Morcha, Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan, Nadi Ghati Morcha

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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Documented By

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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

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