Villagers Protest Against Grant of Bauxite Lease to NALCO in Koraput, Odisha

Reported by

Sandeep Pattnaik

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

September 1, 2017

September 1, 2017

Updated on

September 1, 2017

Location of Conflict

Pottangi

Koraput

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Bauxite Mining

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

5000

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

698

ha

Starting Year

2016

State

Odisha

Sector

Mining

On July 12, 2016, The Government of Odisha formally granted mining lease in the Seragarh hill of Pottangi block of Koraput district to the PSU National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO) for a period of 50 years. The bauxite reserve spread over an area of 1738 hectares would cater to the raw material needs of Nalco's expansion plan of its refinery at Damanjodi in Koraput district with an investment of Rs 5,600 crore. Thousands of locals from Koratpur district under the banner of Serubandha Parvat Surakhaya Samiti protested against the move of the state government to grant the lease in 2015 itself, when the media reports were out. Along with taking out a rally, they submitted a three page memorandum to the governor through the tehsildar demanding the immediate dissolution of the project. They expressed their serious objection against the purposed mining as this will have an adverse impact on the environment includes erosion, the formation of sinkholes, loss of biodiversity, and contamination of soil, ground water and surface water by chemicals, and permanent degradation of the land. Further, they have emphasized that as their area belongs to the 5th Schedule of the Constitution, the government must organize a gram sabha consultation as per the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act 1996 and without such consultation, the stands null and void. At a gram sabha meeting held in June, 2019, it was reported that villagers reiterated their opposition for the mining project noting how it will impact the lives of over 5000 people.
Although several media outlets reported that NALCO, conducted a successful and "smooth" public hearing in the same year, regarding the bauxite mines, with full "support" from the local villagers on 17th December, 2019, a contradictory account of the meeting was published by The New Indian Express on the very same day. The article noted how social activist Pratap Choudhury opposed the mining at the meeting as it would impact agriculture in the area. As of 2021, the environmental clearance for the project is still pending. Further, in May 2021, the NHRC (National Human Rights Commission)acting on a petition filed by advocate Radhakanta Tripathy, directed the Chief Secretary of Odisha to investigate the grievances of individuals displaced and affected by several projects in the Koraput district, including NALCO. Mr. Tripathy in his petition also called for a reexamination of the MOU signed between NALCO and the Government of Odisha.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Refusal to give up land for the project

Opposition against environmental degradation

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):

5600

Type of investment:

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

Land Acquisition Laws, Environmental Laws, Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996
Section 4(i) [Gram Sabha or panchayat to be consulted before land acquisition and rehabilitation]
Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006
Para 2 [Requirement of prior environmental clearance in case of new projects and expansion of existing projects]; Para 7 III. [The Prior Environmental Clearance (EC) Process for New Projects includes the stage of Public consultation];
Electricity Act, 2003
Section 3 [Power of Central government to take measures to protect and improve environment]; Section 6 (2) (e) [The Central Government has the power to make rules restricting or prohibiting industries to be established in certain locations, and regarding processes and operations]
Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
Section 2(ii) [Authorities or State government can pass orders for use of forest land for non-forest purposes only with the prior approval of the Central government]; Section 2 (iii) [Assigning of forest land to private parties or authority or corporation only to be done with prior approval of the Central Government]
Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Section 4 (2)(e) [Free informed consent of the gram sabha for resettlement and the package in writing]; Section 3 (1) [This section enlists the rights of Forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers which include right to hold and live in the forest land, right to protect any community forest resource traditionally used, and the right to rehabilitation in case of displacement]; Section 5 [Duties of forest rights holders and Gram Sabha to protect wildlife, forest, biodiversity, and against activities that affect cultural and natural heritage]
Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957
Section 5 [This section provides for restrictions on the grant of prospecting licenses or mining leases]; Section 20A [Central government has powers to issue directions which include those related to mitigating environmental impact and minimizing ecological disturbance]
Section 8 [Examination of proposals and social impact assessment by appropriate government]; Section 41(9) [Alienation of land to be deemed null and void due to disregard of regulations]; Section 41 [Special provisions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Scheduled Areas and prior consent of Gram Sabha or Panchayat or Autonomous District Councils]
Rule 5 [This provision enlists the factors to be considered by the Central government for prohibiting and restricting certain locations for establishment of industries and the carrying on of processes and operations in different areas]
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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

Yes

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

During the consultation meeting with the gram sabha, villagers reiterated their opposition for the mining project stating how it will adversely impact the lives of over 5000 people and the environment.

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Non-implmentation/violation of PESA

Non-implementation/violation of FRA

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Yes

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

Advocacy (for inclusion in courts)

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Objections as part of official procedures

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Government of Odisha

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO)

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:

Serubandh Parvat Surakshya Samiti

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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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

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