TATA Coal-based Power Project Cancelled But Odisha Farmers Don't Get Their Land Back

Reported by

Basudev Mahapatra

Published on

April 21, 2017

April 21, 2017

Updated on

April 21, 2017

Location of Conflict

Naraj-Marthapur

Cuttack

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Thermal Power Plant

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

10000

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

486

ha

Starting Year

2006

State

Odisha

Sector

Power

In 2006, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between TATA Power Company Ltd. and the Odisha government for a 1000MW coalbased power plant at NarajMarthapur area in Cuttack district, which was to be carried out in a phased manner, involving a combined investment of INR 9000 crore. For this purpose, at least 1200 acres of land in the ecologically sensitive zone was acquired by the Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO), a state government agency. People living in five villages namely Mundali, Talagarh, NarajMarthapur, Ramdaspur and Nuagaon lost their agricultural land to the project. As the company faced strong opposition from the State forest and environment department along with green activists over locating the plant close to Chandaka wildlife sanctuary, on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, it decided to change the location. Begunia in Khordha district was deemed to be the new site with 975 acres of land but the project was shifted once again to be a shorebased plant at Gopalpur on the state's southern coast, where more than 3200 acres of land was acquired. However, the company finally decided to shelve the project. Sanjeev Chopra, principal secretary (industries), confirmed that TATA had yet to submit a formal proposal to set up a plant at Gopalpur and had scrapped its plans of setting up a coalbased power plant in State. It was reported that the de allocation of Mandakini coal based on the Supreme Court order, which the plant had intended to use as fuel, and the reluctance to bear the enormous cost of replacing it with imported coal, led to the shelving of the proposed plant. The land acquired in NarajMarthapur and adjacent villages for the initial project has not been returned to people despite being unused. The onetime compensation paid by the company for their surrendered lands is no solace, say the affected people who are now battling for survival. With the formation of a protest banner named 'Sidheswar Anchalika Surakhya Committee,' people have started demanding the return of their lands while seeking the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the issue. The committee has alleged that the land was acquired forcefully from people and the public hearing was held at a distance of 20 km from the affected villages to ensure nonparticipation of most of the affected people. Inspired by the Supreme Court judgement on land rights of farmers in Singur, they launched a "democratic, peaceful and nonviolent struggle".

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand to get back acquired land

Complaint against procedural violations

Refusal to give up land for the project

Opposition against environmental degradation

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):

9000

Type of investment:

Investment Made

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

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

Legislations/Policies Involved

Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Section 5 [Duties of forest rights holders and Gram Sabha to protect wildlife, forest, biodiversity, and against activities that affect cultural and natural heritage]
Land Acquisition Act, 1894
Section 39 [Prior consent of appropriate government and execution of agreement necessary for acquisition of land for companies]; Section 11A [Collector to make the award within a period of two years from the date of publication of the declaration, else entire Acquisition proceedings shall lapse];
Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006
Para 2 [Requirement of prior environmental clearance]; Para 7 III. [The prior Environmental Clearance (EC) process for New Projects includes the stage of Public consultation which should be conducted in close proximity to the site]
Odisha Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Rules, 2015
Rule 14 [This provision lays down the process for conducting public hearings]; Rule 21 [For land acquisition, the land acquisition collector shall initiate the process of obtaining consent of affected families]; Rule 43 [This provision provides for the reversion of acquired land to State if land remains unutilized for 5 years after possession]
Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
Section 24 [Exception for the application of the provisions of the 2013 act when there is a lapse of proceedings wrt land acquired under the 1894 Act, due non payment of award or non taking of possession before January, 2014]; Section 101 [Return of land to the original owner or to the land bank, that had been acquired but has been unutilised for five years from the date possession was taken]; Section 82 (2) [This provision provides for the restoration of land and compensation to be made by the collector against damage done (if any) to the land so acquired]; Section 93 [Appropriate government can withdraw from acquisition if possession has not been taken and the collector shall determine and pay the amount of compensation due to damage suffered by owner owing to acquisition proceedings]
Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
Section 3 (1) [The Central Government has the powers to take measures to protect, improve the quality of the environment and prevent, control and abate environmental pollution]; Section 3 (2) (v) [The Central Government can take measures for partial or complete restriction of certain areas from certain industries, processes and operations]; Section 6 (2) (e) [The Central Government has the power to make rules restricting or prohibiting industries to be established in certain locations, and regarding processes and operations]
Rule 5 [Factors to be considered for prohibiting and restricting certain locations for establishment of industries and the carrying on of processes and operations in different areas]
Section 2 (iii) [Assigning of forest land to private parties or authority or corporation only to be done with prior approval of the Central Government]
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Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

No

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 free prior informed consent

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Non-implementation/violation of LARR Act

Violation of environmental laws

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Yes

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Orissa High Court

Case Number

Writ Petition No. 6327/2009

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Displacement

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Campaigns (grassroots organisations/press releases/media)

Advocacy (for inclusion in courts)

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO)

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:

TATA Power

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Sidheswar Anchalika Surakhya 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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Edited By

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