MoEFCC Grants Multiple Extensions to Kusmunda Mine in Chhattisgarh despite Public Opposition

Reported by

Riddhi Pandey

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

September 26, 2016

September 26, 2016

Updated on

September 26, 2016

Location of Conflict

Gevra

Khodri, Khairbhawna, Amgaon and Churail villages

Korba

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Coal Mining

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

13000

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

5166

ha

Starting Year

2013

State

Chhattisgarh

Sector

Mining

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. 

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Opposition against environmental degradation

Complaint against procedural violations

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

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):

7612.32

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

Legislations/Policies Involved

Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
Section 2 [Restriction on the use of forestland for non-forest purposes]
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]; Section 7 [Procedure to be followed for grant of environmental clearance]
Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996
Section 4(i) [Consultation with Gram Sabha mandatory before undertaking any land acquisition or development project]
Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Section 3 [Settlement of forest rights]; Section 4(2) [Consent of Gram Sabha in concerned area to be taken and prior information to be provided]; Section 5 [This section empowers the Gram Sabha to regulate community forest rights]
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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 recognition of Individual and 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

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Violation of free prior informed consent

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Non-implmentation/violation of PESA

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 Nos. 78 and 79 of 2018

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Arrest/detention/imprisonment

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

Protests/marches

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:

Amnesty International

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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