Tribal Communities in Gujarat's Doswada Oppose Zinc Plant, Clash with Police

Reported by

Rejitha Nair

Legal Data by

Bhavesh Seth, Mukta Joshi

Edited by

Moushumi Sharma

Updated by

Published on

August 25, 2021

August 25, 2021

Updated on

August 25, 2021

Location of Conflict

Doswada

Surat

Tapi

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Other Kind of Industry

Zinc Smelter Plant

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

200000

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

168

ha

Starting Year

2021

State

Gujarat

Sector

Industry

The news of a zinc plant being set up in Doswada village in Tapi district has created tension among the people living in nearby villages.

In October 2020, the Gujarat government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Vedanta Group’s Hindustan Zinc Limited (HZL) to set up the world’s largest zinc smelter plant in Doswada. The plant is proposed to be spread across 415 acres of land, with an annual capacity of 300 kilo tonnes. It is scheduled to be operational from 2022 and is estimated to entail an investment of up to INR 10,000 crore, with INR 6,000 crore already invested in the first phase.

The proposal has incited violent protests, as the tribal communities living in the region fear that effluents like cadmium, lead, arsenic and sodium oxide from the smelter would pose health threats both to them and their livestock as well as ruin their fertile agricultural land.

The Gujarat State Pollution Control Board had scheduled public hearing on the environmental impact of the plant on July 5, 2021. The villages within a 10-kilometre radius of the plant were invited to attend the hearing. This move was criticised by some as being unmindful of the risk of such a huge gathering during the COVID-19 pandemic. The sarpanch (head of panchayat) of 91 villages also requested the district collector to postpone the hearing as villagers would not be able to participate because of the ongoing pandemic and also it being the paddy sowing season. But their request was rejected, and the hearing was held at the complex of the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC). Those who attended the proceedings requested for its postponement while others gathered outside the venue and started raising banners and slogans. Some protesters reportedly pelted stones at police officials on duty. In retaliation, the police allegedly fired over 30 tear gas shells to disperse the crowd. At least 14 police personnel were injured. An FIR was filed under Songadh police station against more than 200 people.

Meanwhile, HZL CEO Arun Misra assured the community that “every step will be taken to safeguard the livelihood, health and environment and that the company will work along with the communities to support them to grow and prosper”.

Further reassuring the people, HZL Director P. Divakaran reiterated, “We will run the plant with zero liquid discharge…the wastewater will be reused through the effluent treatment plant. There will be no air pollution. Even solid waste, which is iron slag, will be converted into by-products and sold in the market for use in the cement and brick industries. There will be over 4,000 people working in the plant, and we will give preference to local youths…”

The land where the plant is to be set up was acquired 25 years ago by the government through the GIDC but has remained unused since then. According to Bharatiya Tribal Party MLA Chhotubhai Vasava, the procedures laid down under the Panchayat (Extension to Schedules Areas) Act, 1996, to establish an industrial unit in a tribal area has not been followed in this case. He has filed a public interest litigation before the Gujarat high court asking the court to direct the state government to hear the representatives of the villages likely to be affected by the project. 

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Opposition against environmental degradation

Complaint against procedural violations

Refusal to give up land for the project

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common and Private

Type of Common Land

Total investment involved (in Crores):

10000

Type of investment:

Investment Expected

Year of Estimation

2021

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

Legislations/Policies Involved

Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996
Section 4(e): [Plans, programmes and projects for social and economic development shall be approved and identified by Gram Sabha]; Section 4(h): [The Gram Sabha or the Panchayats at the appropriate level shall be consulted before making the acquisition of land and actual planning and implementation of the project]; Section 4(k): [Recommendations of the Gram Sabha or the Panchayats at the appropriate level shall be made mandatory prior to the grant of prospecting licence or mining lease]; Section 4(m): [Power and authority of Gram Sabha]
Land Acquisition Act, 1894
Section 4: [Publication of preliminary notification]; Section 5A: [Hearing of objections to the land acquisition notification]; Section 6: [Declaration that land is required for a public purpose]; Section 9: [Notice to persons interested]; Section 11: [Enquiry and award by Collector]; Section 15 read with Sections 23 and 24: [Matters to be considered and neglected while determining the amount of compensation]; Section 17(3A)(a): [Collector must tender 80 per cent of compensation for land as estimated by him before taking possession of any land]
Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
Paragraph 7: [Public hearing is the third stage before grant of environmental clearance for a new project]
Electricity Act, 2003
Paragraph 7: [Public hearing is the third stage before grant of environmental clearance for a new project]
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  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

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 environmental laws

Non-implmentation/violation of PESA

Violation of free prior informed consent

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

High Court of Gujarat

Case Number

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Lathicharge/teargas/pellets

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

No

Reported Details of the Violation:

During a public hearing, protesters reportedly pelted stones at police officials on duty. In retaliation, the police allegedly fired over 30 tear gas shells to disperse the crowd. At least 14 police personnel were injured. An FIR was filed under Songadh police station against more than 200 people.

Date of Violation

July 4, 2021

Location of Violation

Doswada village, Tapi district

Nature of Protest

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Stone pelting

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Gujarat Pollution Control Board, Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation

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:

Hindustan Zinc 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:  

Image Credit:  

Documented By

Text Link

Reviewed By

Text Link

Updated By

Text Link

Edited By

Text LinkLand Conflict Watch
X

Support our work

Your contribution ensures continuity of this crucial project.

As a member, you will get exclusive access to special reports, policy papers and research projects undertaken by Land Conflict Watch and behind-the-scenes interactions with the writers and researchers about their work.
Join Now