The residents of Tamar block in Ranchi district have been demanding scrapping of the Parasi gold mining project since 2017, alleging that the community was not consulted. According to the Mineral Exploration Corporation, the block holds 7.467 million tonnes of gold reserves and was auctioned to Rungta Mines Ltd, a flagship company of the SR Rungta Group, for INR 1,200 crore. The Rungta Group is primarily involved in iron ore and manganese ore mining. Protests against the auction of the gold block broke out soon after the auction process was completed in November 2017. According to media reports, forest dwellers from 19 villages under the Parasi panchayat staged a peaceful demonstration at the Albert Ekka Chowk in Ranchi on November 8, 2017. At the protest, two groups – the Adivasi Jan Parishad and the Panch Pargana Zamin Bachao Sangharsh Morcha – demanded the implementation of the 1997 Samatha Judgment (a landmark judgment by the Supreme Court in 1997 in which it declared all lands leased out to private mining companies in Scheduled Areas null and void)** **and protested the lack of consultation with the Gram Sabha (Village Assembly) prior to the auction of the gold block. The map shows that not just Parasi, but panchayats such as Amlesha, Ulidih, Tamar, Kundula, Kurkutta, among others, will come under the mining area gradually. Entire Tamar block will be erased slowly from the map, president of Adivasi Jan Parishad Prem Singh Munda told the Telegraph. However, the State Mines Commissioner had dismissed the apprehensions. According to him, there was no reason to harbour such apprehensions at an early stage as mining and environmental clearances were yet to be obtained. Following the protest, the two organisations also submitted memorandums to the governor demanding the cancellation of the auction but received no response, Munda told LCW. Tamar is a Schedule V area. This is also Mundari Khunt Kattidari Zameen *(land cleared by the Mundas for cultivation and habitation after their arrival in Chotanagpur)* and based on the Samatha Judgment, the Gram Sabha should have been consulted prior to the auction of the mine, he said, adding that brokers have started visiting the villagers to convince them to give up their land. The mining plan for the gold block was approved in 2018, but the project is yet to be granted an environmental clearance and a mining lease. While the submissions to the environment ministry state that over 97,000 people live within a 10km radius of the project site, the mining plan states that there is no habitation in the area and, thus, the project will not cause displacement. But the fear of displacement, pollution from the mine and loss of land and livelihood continues to loom large among the tribal residents of the area. While land owners may be compensated for their loss, what about the landless people? Pollution from the mine will wipe out the entire region, said Girish Singh Munda, a member of the panchayat, while speaking to LCW. According to media reports, the residents held another demonstration on August 21, 2019, a day before the Pollution Control Board held a meeting with them.
Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:
Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd, Jharkhand Government
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Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Rungta Mines Limited
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Out of Court
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Nature of Protest
Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials , Protests/marches
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