Dhinkia Residents Face Police Action, Oppose Odisha Government's Project of Jindal Steel Plant

Reported by

Sibasish Ray

Legal Data by

Anagha MV, Mukta Joshi

Edited by

Moushumi Sharma

Updated by

Pamela Das, Jagat Dora

Published on

September 2, 2016

September 2, 2016

Updated on

January 17, 2022

September 2, 2016

Location of Conflict

Dhinkia village in Kujang block

Jagatsinghpur

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Steel Plant

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

1505

ha

Starting Year

2005

State

Odisha

Sector

Industry

On January 14, 2022, the police in Odisha cracked down on the residents of Dhinkia village in Jagatsinghpur district, resorting to lathicharge and arrests. Clashes began when the police reportedly prevented about a thousand people from inspecting their betel leaf plantations.

According to the Jindal Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (JPSS), at least 30 people were injured, including women and children. The police arrested five members of the group,including their leader, Debendra Swain, and social activist Narendra Mohanty.

LCW spoketo JPSS spokesperson Prashant Paikray, who informed that the police have been guarding the area for more than 45 days, blocking public access to the betel leaf plantations, on which the livelihoods of the residents depend. He alleged that the police had attacked the people three-four times since December and arrested many on multiple occasions.

According to Paikray, the plantations stand on the proposed site for an integrated steel plant by Jindal Steel Works (JSW), which the residents of Dhinkia have been opposing for more than a decade. The JSW plant, which received forest clearance in May 2011, has been proposed on the same location as the earlier POSCO steel project.

On June 22, 2005, the Pohang Steel Company (POSCO) of South Korea had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Odisha government to construct a $12-billion integrated steel plant in Jagatsinghpur. The project required 4,000 acres of land, of which 2,700 acres were forestland. But the public opposed the project as they were at risk of being displaced. The struggle to halt the project lasted for 12 years (during which the JSW Steel Plant was also proposed and received forest clearance). Facing stiff resistance and failing to get an unimpeachable environmental clearance, POSCO finally withdrew the project in 2016.

The local communities, in the meantime, had filed claims for both individual and community forest rights under the Forest Rights Act, 2006, as they traditionally used the land to cultivate betel vines, paddy and vegetables. In addition to demanding the return of their cultivable land after POSCO’s withdrawal, the people also demanded the government to urgently process their forest rights claims. Paikray claims that the government is yet to recognise their rights.

The protests against POSCO’s steel plant have now replicated in the JSW project. A public hearing was organised on December 20, 2019, which was denounced as a ‘farce’ by the residents as the project-affected people reportedly did not participate in the meeting. The village council (palli sabha) of Dhinkia, too, passed a resolution against the project.

Sankar Prasad Pani, an advocate based in the state, told LCW that following the resolution, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change issued a letter to the State Pollution Control Board to examine the issues raised.

“The JSW steel project is yet to receive an environmental clearance, but the government, joining hands with the police, has started to cut down trees, destroy our plantations and acquire land. We have clearly stated that we do not want any project in the area. If the government wants to build plants or factories, it will have to do so over our dead bodies. We will not accept any compensation or rehabilitation package. We do not want any project or any Jindal on our land,” Paikray told LCW.

Talking about their pending forest rights claims, he added that during the anti-POSCO struggle, the government had set up three committees to check the implementation of forest rights in the area, but till date their rights remain unrecognised.

The JPSS has reached out to civil society groups and political parties for support. “Our people have been protesting in a non-violent manner, but the police have resorted to force and have also levelled fake charges against us to discredit our stuggle. Even the company’s goons have threatened us, but we are determined to not give up our land. We will continue to protest in a democratic way,” Paikray said.

On January 16, representatives of civil society organisations wrote a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, highlighting the ‘ongoing crackdown’ and calling for ‘urgent intervention’.

LCW tried to speak to others who were victims of the police action, but following the arrests of JPSS members, no one was willing to come forward and speak openly. LCW was also told that many people in the village have gone into hiding as the police are allegedly making door-to-door visits to arrest protesters.    


Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand to get back acquired land

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Refusal to give up land for the project

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Scrapping of the steel project

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

51000

Type of investment:

Investment Expected

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, Land Acquisition Laws, Environmental Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Section 3(a) [Right of traditional forest dwellers to hold forest land for common occupation and self-cultivation to be recognized as a Forest Right]; Section 4[Traditional forest dwellers to be vested with all the forest rights recognized under Section 3]
Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
Section 101 [Unutilized acquired land to be returned to the original owners by the State Government]; Section 5 [A public hearing should be conducted to ascertain the views of the families affected in an acquisition process]
Odisha Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Rules, 2015
Rule 14 (2) [A public hearing with a quorum of at least 25% of the affected families must be conducted to discuss the Social Impact Assessment report]; Rule 21 [The consent of all the affected families to be obtained by the Land Acquisition Officer]
Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006
Clause 7(i)(II) [The Environment Impact Assessment [EIA] Report must address all the relevant environmental concerns]; Clause 7(i)(III)(ii) [A public hearing at the site has to be carried out for ascertaining concerns of local affected persons]; Clause 7(i)(III)(vii) [After completion of the public consultation, the applicant shall address the concerns and make appropriate changes in the draft EIA/EMP]; Appendix II (10) [An EMP has to contain all the mitigation measures for each activity, a monitoring plan for compliance of various environmental regulations and the steps taken in case of emergencies]
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  4. 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.

  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.

    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.

  6. 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.

  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?

Demand for recognition of forest rights under the FRA and return of unutilised land acquired under LARR, 2013.

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Non-implementation/violation of FRA

Non-implementation/violation of LARR Act

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Violation of environmental laws

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Yes

Name of the adjudicatory body

Odisha Human Rights Commission

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Lathicharge/teargas/pellets

Arrest/detention/imprisonment

Judicial harassment

Blackmail/threats/intimidation

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Yes

Reported Details of the Violation:

Police lathicharged thousands of people who had gathered to inspect their plantations. At least 30 were injured, including women and children. In the past, the police have reportedly levelled fake charges against protesters and arrested them, and they are reportedly making door-to-door visits to arrest protesters, forcing many to go into hiding. JSW's musclemen have also allegedly threatened people.

Date of Violation

January 14, 2022

Location of Violation

Dhinkia village, Jagatsinghpur district

Nature of Protest

Objections as part of official procedures

Campaigns (grassroots organisations/press releases/media)

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Department of Steel and Mines

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Jindal Group

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, Jindal Pratirodh Sangram Samiti

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
Police resort to lathicharge in Dhinkia

Police resort to lathicharge in Dhinkia

Image Credit:  

Jindal Pratirodh Sangram Samiti

Police resort to lathicharge in Dhinkia

An injured woman and her child

Image Credit:  

Jindal Pratirodh Sangram Samiti

Documented By

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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

Text LinkLand Conflict Watch
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