Legal Data by
August 25, 2021
August 25, 2021
August 25, 2021
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.
Opposition against environmental degradation
Complaint against procedural violations
Refusal to give up land for the project
Common and Private
Total investment involved (in Crores):
Type of investment:
Year of Estimation
Page Number In Investment Document:
Has the Conflict Ended?
When did it end?
Why did the conflict end?
Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict
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
Status of Case In Court
Whether any adjudicatory body was approached
Name of the adjudicatory body
Name(s) of the Court(s)
High Court of Gujarat
Main Reasoning/Decision of court
Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:
Whether criminal law was used against protestors:
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
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: