Tribespeople Oppose Land Acquisition for Deocha Pachami Coal Block in West Bengal

Reported by

Mitali Biswas

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

September 12, 2016

September 12, 2016

Updated on

September 12, 2016

Location of Conflict

Deocha Pachami

Dewanganj, Harisinga

Birbhum

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Coal Mining

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

18000

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

4541

ha

Starting Year

1970

State

West Bengal

Sector

Mining

In West Bengal's Birbhum district, underneath Mohammad Bazar block, sits the world's second-largest coal block, with an estimated reserve of 2.2 billion metric tonnes. A major portion of the acquired land falls under the Deocha Pachami-Hinglo-Bharkata-Kapistha village panchayats. Around 30 tribal villages exist on the land, with 80-90 tribal families residing in each village. Since 2015, the Trinamool Congress-led government in the state had been pursuing a project to conduct mining in the coal block, along with the state governments of Bihar, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and a power generation company, Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited. It had also said that it was inviting international tenders to facilitate mining by experienced agencies. However, by 2016, the other states had backed out and after two years of deliberation at the Centre, the sole responsibility of overseeing the project was given to West Bengal Power Development Corporation Limited  and Bengal Birbhum Coal Company Limited. The INR 12,000-crore project is anticipated to generate employment for close to one lakh residents of the coal block area. The first phase of the mining project requires 1,000 acres of land. Of this, 50-60 acres happen to be single-cropped area. The rest is fallow and rocky. The project is estimated to displace 18,000 residents of 34 villages, and tribespeople dominate the demography in 30 of these villages. During the land acquisition process, the West Bengal Mineral Development and Trading Corporation had promised to give adequate compensation to the affected people. When the compensation was set at INR 22,500 per year, the affected families protested, demanding a higher amount. They also came together and refused to part with their land. They submitted a memorandum with the additional district magistrate, stating that they did not want this new mining project and alleging that the actual people who were going to face eviction had not been invited to the meeting. Meanwhile, the tribal families whose lands have already been acquired for the mining project are also demanding proper compensation, rehabilitation and jobs. In June 2019, a tribal-led protest brought to a halt the primary work of an open cast coal mining project. In October, when they tried to resume work, they were stopped. Earlier on May 15, 2019, Land Conflict Watch spoke to Sunil Soren, leader of the tribal organisation Birbhum Adivasi Gaota, who said that of the 484 acres acquired by the government, mining has already begun on 84 acres of land, which is estimated to displace 5,000 villagers. On July 9, 2020, government officials, including Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha, held a meeting with locals and relevant stakeholders expressing the governments desire to start mining soon. Soren said that tribespeople who are original stakeholders were not allowed in the meeting. In September 2019, Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee had invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate the project. Ahead of the 2021 Assembly elections in West Bengal, Banerjee's government has been highlighting this project as a game-changer for the state's economy.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for more compensation than promised

Refusal to give up land for the project

Demand for rehabilitation

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):

12000

Type of investment:

Investment Expected

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

Land Acquisition Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

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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-rehabilitation of displaced people

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

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

Campaigns (grassroots organisations/press releases/media)

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

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:

Bengal Birbhum Coalfields Limited

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Left Front (till 2011), All India Trinamool Congress

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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