Sponge Iron Factory is dumping waste and causing pollution in Jhargram district, West Bengal

Reported by

Mitali Biswas

Legal Data by

Anmol Gupta, Mukta Joshi

Edited by

Radhika Chatterjee

Updated by

Published on

September 25, 2022

September 25, 2022

Updated on

September 25, 2022

Location of Conflict

Jitusol

Jhargram

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Steel Plant

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

1251

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

ha

Starting Year

2011

State

West Bengal

Sector

Industry

Local communities of Jitusol and Bagmuri villages in West Bengal have been opposing the dumping of iron ore waste on their agricultural lands by the Rashmi Cement Limited's Sponge Iron factory.

Set up in 2009, Rashmi Cement Limited factory is located in Jitusol village in Jhargram district. It was established on lands that had been acquired from the village residents. They gave up their lands in the hope of receiving permanent employment in the factory. Though more than a decade has passed since then, they are yet to receive any jobs at the factory. Making the situation worse is that their remaining agricultural lands has become difficult to farm in due to pollution caused by the factory's waste, which is being dumped on their lands. A resident of the area, Kamal Mahato, told LCW that the fertility of his agricultural lands has reduced due to the waste dumped by the factory. He shared that the roads in the area have also been damaged. 

In 2015, the company received environmental clearance from the pollution board. The factory however has been found to be violating the regulations that were set up by the Central Pollution Control Board in 2011 about siting iron factories away from residential areas. The factory has now expanded from Jitusol to Bagmuri Mouza. And the company's name has been changed from Rashmi Cement Limited to Rashmi Udyog Private Limited in 2020.

Tufan Mahato, a resident of Bagmuri village, told LCW that the company has been occupying the lands of many farmers by dumping waste on their lands. In some instances the factory has even erected boundary walls around the occupied lands.

An inspection team from the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) came in 2019 only after countless complaints from the local residents. The team found that heaps of industrial waste had accumulated on the farmlands. Subsequently, the WBPCB issued an order directing the Company to take remedial action for the pollution caused by its activities. The order also imposed a fine of Rs. 75 lakhs on the Company for the pollution caused by it. This sum included environmental compensation and bank guarantees.

Despite such state actions and opposition from the community members, forceful land capture by the factory by dumping waste on agricultural lands continues to this day.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Opposition against environmental degradation

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Restore the damaged land's fertility

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common and Private

Type of Common Land

Common and Private

Total investment involved (in Crores):

220

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

2019

Page Number In Investment Document:

28

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Electricity Act, 2003
Section 7 [No person carrying out any industrial activity shall discharge or emit pollutants beyond the prescribed standards] Section 9 [In case of discharge of pollutants in excess of the prescribed standards, the person responsible for such discharge and the person responsible for the place at which the discharge occurs, shall be bound to take actions to mitigate environmental pollution caused]
Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
Section 31(A) read with Section 21: [Empowers the state pollution control authority to show cause notice for violations of the Act] 
Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
Rule 15 [Duties and responsibilities of the local authorities and village panchayats, including responsibility for efficient waste disposal]; Rule 16 [Duties of State Pollution Control Board and Pollution Control Committee include addressing concerns, issuing and revoking authorizations for violation of the rules];
Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016
Rule 15 [Duties and responsibilities of the local authorities and village panchayats, including responsibility for efficient waste disposal]; Rule 16 [Duties of State Pollution Control Board and Pollution Control Committee include addressing concerns, issuing and revoking authorizations for violation of the rules];
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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.

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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.

  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?

The community members have opposed the waste being dumped on their agricultural lands by the factory and the forceful capture of land occurring in the process. They have requested for necessary action to be taken by the district administration against the pollution being caused by the factory.

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

The district administration visited the site along with officials of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board to inspect the environmental pollution caused by the factory.

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Violation of environmental laws

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

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

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

District Administration, West Bengal State Pollution Control Board

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:

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:
 RTI report of the Land Department

RTI report of the Land Department

Image Credit:  

Mitali Biswas

 RTI report of the Land Department

Rally from Citizen's Initiative Platform

Image Credit:  

Rakesh Mudli

Documented By

Text Link

Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

Text LinkLand Conflict Watch
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