Legal Data by
September 26, 2016
September 26, 2016
September 26, 2016
The plans for expansion of the Kusmunda Opencast Coal Mine has been facing stiff opposition from the tribespeople in Kobra district. One of the largest coal mines in the country, the Kusmunda mine is operated by South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL), a subsidiary of Coal India Limited. The project is classified under the Emergency Coal Production Plan. In 2015, the mining plan was improvised to expand the capacity of the mine from 18.75 MTPA to 62.5 MTPA. As per the EIA report, the expansion plan would impact five villages Amgaon, Churail, Khodri, Khairbawna and Gevra in addition to the 12 villages already affected. It is estimated to displace almost 9,200 families across the 17 villages. On February 11, 2015, the residents opposed the project at a public hearing organised by the district administration. They alleged that they were not informed about the hearing in advance. According to the 2016 Amnesty International report, the residents of the villages are concerned about the impact of the mining on their lands, forests, water sources and livelihood practices, especially agriculture. According to a 2015 newspaper report, the tribespeople claimed that SECL had also not fulfilled the resettlement and rehabilitation promises for the land acquired earlier. There were also accusations of procedural irregularities in the proposal for mine expansion. A local political leader told the newspaper that the administration organised the public hearing in a different location instead of the villages affected. Another social activist reported discrepancies in the EIA report. In September 2015, SECL floated tenders to expand the mine's capacity without appropriate environmental clearance (EC) even as the mine was already operating at a capacity more than approved. Earlier in February 2014, SECL was granted EC to expand the capacity of the mine from 15 MTPA to 18 MTPA. Reportedly, the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) had first deferred the expansion proposal and demanded additional information based on the concerns voiced by activists and local people. Regardless, in February 2016, the project was granted EC to expand capacity from 18.75 MPTA to 26 MTPA. In the same month, local activist Lakshmi Chauhan stated that the people had already organised a Gram Sabha in accordance with the guidelines of the Act for individual and community forest rights claims, but they were yet to hear back from the administration on the settlement of their claims. Meanwhile, the district administration oragnised a meeting on February 16 to acquire the NoObjection Certificate from the Gram Sabha after the expansion plan got EC. In 2016 again, over 600 villagers came together to collectively protest against the Gevra, Dipka and Kusmunda mines. The police reportedly arrested protesters. Subsequently, in July, Chauhan filed an appeal in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to challenge the EC granted. Meanwhile, in December 2017, SECL again applied for an expansion to approximately double the production. The government granted permission in July 2018 amidst protests. In January 2020, the environment ministry approved the proposal of mine expansion for another 30 years. However, the forest clearance for approximately 44 hectares is still pending. On July 15, 2020, the NGT disposed of the appeal citing a delay in applying. It stated that the decision to weigh the environmental considerations at the cost of industrial requirements was at the discretion of the national government.
Opposition against environmental degradation
Complaint against procedural violations
Demand for legal recognition of land rights
Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources
Forest and Non-Forest
Total investment involved (in Crores):
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
Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws, Environmental Laws
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:
Non-implementation/violation of FRA
Controversial land acquisition by the government
Violation of free prior informed consent
Lack of legal protection over land rights
Non-implmentation/violation of PESA
Status of Case In Court
Whether any adjudicatory body was approached
Name of the adjudicatory body
Name(s) of the Court(s)
Appeal Nos. 78 and 79 of 2018
Main Reasoning/Decision of court
Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:
Whether criminal law was used against protestors:
Reported Details of the Violation:
In 2016, over 600 villagers came together to collectively protest against the Gevra, Dipka and Kusmunda mines. The police reportedly arrested protesters.
Date of Violation
Location of Violation
Nature of Protest
Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:
Ministry of Coal, Government of India
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:
Coal India Limited, South Eastern Coalfields Limited
Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?
Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict: