Mohar Reservoir in Chhattisgarh to Submerge 9 Villages, Farmers Allege Misinformation, Discrepancies

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

Mohar

Kudari Dalli, Maraskola, Hucchetola, Mangchua, Bharritola, Kartutola, Kudari, Karregaon and Dumatola villages

Durg

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Multipurpose Dam

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

1200

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

1280

ha

Starting Year

2009

State

Chhattisgarh

Sector

Infrastructure

The Mohar Reservoir in Balod district has faced stiff resistance from the local people. The reservoir is proposed for primarily two purposes: first, to provide water for a 500megawatt thermal power plant of NSPCL in Bhilai and, second, to irrigate 800 hectares of fields in Durg and Rajnandgaon districts. However, since the projects inception, the villagers have questioned the largescale submergence of land, consequent displacement and inadequate compensation by the state.  The project will reportedly submerge over 1,000 hectares in Balod and Rajnandgaon districts. While one of the villages, Kudari Dalli, will submerge completely, at least eight villages will partially submerge due to the reservoir. It would mostly affect tribaldominated areas, which fall under Schedule V. The local people have further claimed that the government acquired the land without consulting the Gram Sabha, which violates the PESA Act, 1996.  In 2016, the villagers launched protests under the banner of the Nahar Sangharsh Committee against the administrative delays and incompliance to fair compensation, rehabilitation and grant of employment.  In one of the villages, the district collector even directed the water resources department to reconduct a survey of the affected land after persistent demands from the villagers. Over the years, protests have hindered the construction work multiple times. To challenge the project, in May 2016, Shailendra Kumar Deshmukh, a government official in one of the affected villages, filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Chhattisgarh high court. The litigation claims that almost 70 per cent of the water from the reservoir will be directed for industrial purposes and that the reservoir is deceivingly proposed for irrigation, which would allow the administration to avoid offering appropriate compensation and rehabilitation to the affected households, according to a media report. The villagers have also alleged discrepancies in the distribution of compensation in the two districts and very low rates of compensation. According to the petition, the affected households have demanded complete information about the intent of the reservoir and proper rehabilitation and compensation packages under the amended industrial and rehabilitation policies of the state government.  In 2017, the Chhattisgarh high court ruled in favour of the petitioner for the grant of compensation. However, after the district administration did not comply with the orders, the petitioner moved to the Supreme Court in 2018. The case is ongoing.  In January 2019, the Comptroller and Audit General tabled a report, which found that the water resources department did not follow the due timeline in acquiring the forest and tribal clearances for diverting the land to start the project work. Additionally, the report underlined unfruitful expenditure within the cost of the project, as per a media report. The findings resounded the claims of the villagers against procedural violations. The report further claimed that the land acquisition had been completed between 2013 and 2017 but the claims for compensation were yet to be settled. Even the forest clearance is pending. The reservoir is still under construction. In November 2019 and OctoberDecember 2020, the Rajnandgaon district administration notified acquisition of land under the LARR Act, 2013, for the main canal.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Complaint against procedural violations

Demand for compensation

Demand for rehabilitation

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

228

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

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

Legislations/Policies Involved

Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006
Clause 2 [Irrigation projects involving submergence of less than 10,000 hectares of land shall require environmental clearance from the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority]; Clause 7(III)(1) [A public consultation must be held to ascertain the concerns of local affected persons and others who have a stake in the impact of the project]
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 acquisition of land 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 the Gram Sabha should be heard by the Collector and disposed of before acquisition of the land]
Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
Section 2 [Forestland cannot be used for any non-forest purpose without prior approval of the Union government]
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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.

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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:

Non-implmentation/violation of PESA

Violation of free prior informed consent

Non-implementation/violation of LARR Act

Violation of environmental laws

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Non-payment of compensation/promised compensation

Incorrect estimation of compensation

Non-rehabilitation of displaced people

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Supreme Court of India; High Court of Chhattisgarh

Case Number

SLP (Civil) No. 47576 of 2018; WPPIL No. 34 of 2016

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

No

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

No items found.

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Water Resources Department, Durg District Administration

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:

NTPC-SAIL Power Company Private Limited, N.K. Buildcon Private Limited

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Nahar Sangharsh Committee

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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