In 2008, the Gujarat government sanctioned to Nirma Limited 268 hectares of land to construct a cement factory and 3,460 hectares for limestone mining. The grant was given after the environment minister granted environmental clearance to Nirma on the basis of rapid environmental impact assessment (EIA), that describes the project site as a wasteland. Nirma then obtained inprinciple approval from the state to mine limestone from 3,460 hectares in Mahuva's Padhiarka village to feed the cement plant. Part of the project site was the Samadhiyala Bandhara reservoir and its catchment, spread over 100 hectares. Farmers used the reservoir water to irrigate their fields and, therefore, the allotment triggered widespread protests. In 2011, a 330kilometrelong farmers' march was held from Dholiya village in Mahuva to Gandhinagar. Around 5,000 people protested against the loss of agricultural land, which farmers used for onion and cotton cultivation. On March 11, 2011, the environment minsitry issued a showcause notice to Nirma under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, for permanent suspension of work and revocation of the environmental clearance granted to the cement plant, captive power plant and coke oven plant. The Supreme Court directed the ministry to call for the report of an expert body consisting of five independent reputed scientists on March 18, 2011. This body unanimously concluded that the site of Nirma's industrial complex must be relocated to outside the reservoir and its periphery. Based on this report, the ministry cancelled the environmental clearance for the cement plant at Mahuva on December 1, 2011, and filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating the same on December 8, 2011. In February 2012, Nirma moved the National Green Tribunal (NGT). In January 2015, the NGT delivered the final judgment in the case and set aside the revocation order of the environment ministry, acquitting Nirma of any wrongdoing. The NGT asked the Gujarat State Pollution Control Board to monitor the project for two years to see the effects of of the factory on the water body. Such a study is practically meaningless once the project is allowed, said lawyer Abhimanyu Shrestha, who was arguing at the NGT on behalf of Mahuva Bandhara Khetiwadi Paryavaran Bachav Samiti.
Opposition against environmental degradation, Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources
Forest and Non-Forest
Has the Conflict Ended?
When did it end?
Why did the conflict end?
Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict
Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006
Schedule I, Item 3(b): Mandatory environmental clearance for cement plants with one million tonne production capacity]
Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
Section 5: [Union government can issue directives that are mandatory in nature]
Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010
Rule 2(g): [Includes reservoirs in the definition of wetlands]; Rule 4(1)(ii): [Restricts the setting up of industries on wetlands]; Rule 4(2): [Restricts the use of wetlands for non-wetland purposes without prior approval of the Union government]
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:
Violation of environmental laws
Status of Case In Court
Whether any adjudicatory body was approached
Name of the adjudicatory body
National Green Tribunal Principal Bench - New Delhi
Name(s) of the Court(s)
High Court of Gujarat
Appeal No. 04 of 2012
Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:
Whether criminal law was used against protestors
Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?
Reported Details of the Violation:
Date of Violation
Location of Violation
Nature of Protest
Protests/marches, Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials
Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:
Government of Gujarat, Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change
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:
People's Union for Civil Liberties, Sahiyar (Stree Sangathan), Mahuva Khetivadi Paryavaran Bachao Samiti, Gandhian Chunibhai Vaidya