10 Villages Oppose Expansion of Dipka Coal Mine in Chhattisgarh

Reported by

Riddhi Pandey

Published on

January 29, 2017

January 29, 2017

Updated on

January 29, 2017

Location of Conflict

Dipka

Chainpur, Beltikri, Jhingatpur, Jhabar, Sirki, Renki, Suvabhondi, Ratiza and Malgaon

Korba

This is A Schedule Five District

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Coal Mining

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

1999

ha

Starting Year

2013

State

Chhattisgarh

Sector

Mining

The Dipka Mines, owned by South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL), is the thirdlargest coal mine in the country. It spreads over 1,999 hectares of land across 10 villages, namely Dipka, Chainpur, Beltikri, Jhingatpur, Jhabar, Sirki, Renki, Suvabhondi, Ratiza and Malgaon, in Korba district. According to a 2019 company report, the project has affected at least 1,690 families. Those displaced continue to demand rehabilitation, fair compensation and employment opportunities. Land acquisition for the project was completed in phases between 1986 and 2004. Since then, SECL has applied multiple times to expand the mining area and its capacity. However, reportedly, only some of the affected families have been resettled and compensated for the land they gave up.  The village residents have time and again voiced their concerns about the polluting and destructive impact of the mining activities on the land and water sources. Amongst other issues, they claim that mining is turning the land uncultivable. However, in Korba district, Dipka is only one of the many mines responsible for polluting the environment.  In March 2016, the villagers affected by the Dipka Mines came together with the projectaffected people from Gevra and Kusmunda mining projects to protest against the management of SECL. They raised their concerns with the support of local political outfits and activists. In a meeting, they decided against giving up their lands for the mine expansion and planned to submit their concerns to the district collector, reported a newspaper.  In January 2017, the affected villagers launched fresh protests to stop blastingrelated work in different areas of the mining site. In June, the protesters appealed to the administration to shut down the mine if it was unable to meet the demands for rehabilitation, compensation and employment.  In the same year, SELC submitted a proposal to expand the capacity of the mines from 31 MTPA (million tonnes per annum) to 35 MTPA to meet national demands. In February 2018, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change granted the environmental clearance to the project. However, an environmental activist, Laxmi Chouhan, challenged the decision in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for being illegal, improper and irregular". In September 2019, Dipka Mine was flooded after the Lilagar river changed course. The mine was temporarily submerged, which triggered questions over the condition of the mines as a potential hazard zone.  According to a 2019 news report, the environmental concerns of the project are glaring. It restated that the coal dust is worsening the air quality in the area and severely polluting the river water. The activists have also underlined the impact of ongoing mining activities on the regions topography.  In March 2019, the NGT directed the Central Pollution Control Board to act upon the problem of pollution resulting from poor transportation for mining activities. In June, the Chhattisgarh high court dismissed a petition filed against the SELC by the Chhattisgarh Environment Conservation Board. In January 2020, the affected people submitted a letter to the environment ministry to highlight the socioenvironmental degradation caused by mining and requested the ministry to not grant an extension to the mine. Despite this, the ministry approved an extension of 30 years in March while failing to account for many of the concerns raised.  Later that year, in one of the villages, the protesters took out a rally to the office of the SELCs general manager to protest against the pollution. They also pointed towards the poor condition of the roads. The police and administration had to intervene after some protesters locked the general manager in his office.  On August 7, 2020, during the NGT hearing, the appellant argued against the expansion of the mine and demanded withdrawal of the environmental clearance to the project. In May 2021, a newspaper reported that the expansion work for the mine was still ongoing. Meanwhile, the villagers could not register their opposition due to restrictions imposed by the COVID19 pandemic lockdown. Currently, SECL has applied to further increase the capacity of the mines to 40 MTPA

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Opposition against environmental degradation

Refusal to give up land for the project

Complaint against procedural violations

Demand for employment

Demand for rehabilitation

Demand for compensation

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

1950.86

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

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, Other, Land Acquisition Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006
Paragraph 2 [Prior environmental clearance required by appropriate authority for new projects falling in the Schedule]; Section 7 [Environment Impact Assessment to be in accordance with the procedure laid in Section 7]
Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
Section 7 [Persons carrying on industry, operation etc. not to allow emission or discharge of environmental pollutants in excess of the standards]; Section (3-B) [The combined effect of emission or discharge of environmental pollutants in an area from industries, operations, processes, automobiles and domestic sources shall not be permitted to exceed the relevant concentration in ambient air]
Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957
Section 11A [Procedure to grant lease for coal mining by Union government - permit from the state government also necessary]
Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015
Section 21 [Provisions of LARR Act, 2013, shall apply for acquisition of land]
Land Acquisition Act, 1894
Section 11A [Award to be made within two years from the declaration and if no award is made, the acquisition shall lapse]; Section 16 [Possession of land to be made after the grant of compensation by District Collector]; Section 18 [Written application to District Collector]
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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-implementation/violation of LARR Act

Violation of environmental laws

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Non-rehabilitation of displaced people

Delay in compensation

Violation of free prior informed consent

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Disposed

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)

High Court of Chhattisgarh

Case Number

CRL.M. 515/2011 & Appeal No. 08/2019 (CZ)

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Blockades

Protests/marches

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Campaigns (grassroots organisations/press releases/media)

Development of a network or collective

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Directorate of Geology and Mining

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:

South Eastern Coalfields Limited

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

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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