Villagers Oppose Mining Operations in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh

Reported by

Deepika Joshi

Legal Data by

Anmol Gupta, Mukta Joshi

Edited by

Radhika Chatterjee

Updated by

Published on

July 21, 2022

July 21, 2022

Updated on

July 21, 2022

Location of Conflict

Kirandul

Dantewada

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Iron Ore Mining

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

316

ha

Starting Year

2019

State

Chhattisgarh

Sector

Mining

Bailadila range of Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh is a hub of iron ore mining comprising 14 identified deposits primarily operated by centrally run National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC). In June 2019, protesters from different districts of the region collected in Kirandul town to  protest felling of trees and pre mining operations for the Deposit 13 mine. The 10 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) capacity iron ore Deposit-13 was being developed under the joint venture (JV) between centrally run National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) and state run Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation (CMDC). NMDC has 51 % stake while CMDC has 49 % stake in this JV called NCL. Following a bidding process, Adani Enterprises was awarded the contract for developing the mine under the Union government's mine developer and operator scheme (MDO) that allows a public sector enterprise to hand over a mine to a third party for developing and operating it through a bidding process.

The villagers were protesting the mine for multiple reasons - one of the hills identified for Deposit 13 was located at their sacred site (Nandraj Parbat) and abode of their goddess Pittor Meta Devi. They also alleged that their consent was not taken for this process as mandated under the provisions of Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act 1996. According to a 2019 media report, NMDC conducted gram sabhas between 2010 and 2014 on paper only, following which it received environmental clearance in 2015, and forest clearance in 2017. But protestors alleged that the no objection certificate granted by the gram sabha of Hiroli village was fake. An investigation led by the Chhattisgarh Government also found in 2020 that gram sabhas' consent had not been taken for the project at Bailadila by NMDC.

Rumors that the contract would be eventually handed out to the MDO, Adani Enterprises by the government owned PSU further increased their apprehensions. The protestors blocked a check-post of the company and prevented entry of labourers. This disrupted production of iron ore in three other NMDC mines in Kirandul, 450 kms from state capital Raipur. NMDC suffered a loss of Rs 12 crore per day as a result of the protests. 

Soon after Chhattisgarh government ordered a halt to all operations including "illegal" cutting of trees in Deposit 13 area and ordered a probe on the alleged “fake” Gram Sabha held in 2014 at Hiroli village which gave clearance to this project. The protesters agreed to halt their protests with this assurance. In March 2020, the probe by the Dantewada District Collector concluded that no Gram Sabha agreement had happened in Hiroli village on July 4, 2014, as had been stated in the approval letter for the mining.  

In March 2020, the Chhattisgarh Forest Department issued a show-cause notice to NMDC Ltd asking why the mining activity in Deposit 13 should not be cancelled. The NCL CEO was also booked under Wildlife Act by the Forest Department of Chhattisgarh after granting approval to fell trees in forest area with due process and permission. In January 2021, Chhattisgarh's Mineral Resources department issued a letter to the NCL Chief Executive Officer to decide the future course of action related to the Bailadila iron ore deposit 13. 

However despite this, the mining has been not been officially closed. Many consider the fight to be not over.**"**Even though the mining operations have been halted, technically the issue is not closed at the government level. Despite the government's own probe finding irregularities in the process of granting approvals (such as not holding gram sabhas) the state has not yet cancelled the environmental clearance. We hope and demand that the government will soon give final order to close the deposit 13 itself and put a lid on this matter," said Mangal Kunjam, a resident of the area and a journalist who has been reporting on this issue. 

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Complaint against procedural violations

Demand to cancel the project

Refusal to give up land for the project

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for cancellation of environmental clearance

Region Classification

Urban and Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

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

Legislations/Policies Involved

Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996
Section 4(e)(i) [Gram Sabha or Panchayats to be consulted before land acquisition for development projects in Scheduled Areas] Section 4(m) [Gram Sabha or Panchayat to have the power to prevent alienation of land from Scheduled Areas and to take steps to restore such alienated land]
Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Section 3(2) [Clearance of developmental projects subject to Gram Sabha approval] Section 4(5) [Forest-dwelling tribes to not be evicted or removed from forest until recognition and verification of claims under this Act are complete]
Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006
Paragraph 7(i)(III) Public consultation necessary before granting of environmental clearance; Paragraph 8(vi) Deliberate concealment or submission of misleading information shall lead to cancellation of environmental clearance
Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
Section 2 [Restriction on the de-reservation of forests or use of forest land for non-forest purpose.]  
F. No. 11-9/1998-FC, Ministry of Environment and Forests, dated July 30, 2009
Proposals under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 must necessarily include written consent of the Gram Sabha to the proposal, among other documents.
Orissa Mining Corporation Limited v. Ministry of Environment and Forest and Others, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 180 of 2011 (Supreme Court of India)
Gram Sabha empowered under the Recognition of Forest Rights Act to protect religious rights.
Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006
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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

No

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 free prior informed consent

Non-consultation with stakeholders

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Non-implementation/violation of FRA

Non-implmentation/violation of PESA

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:

No

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Blockades

Protests/marches

Artistic and creative actions (theatre, murals, art, music etc)

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Chhattisgarh State Forest Department, Chhattisgarh Government (which undertakes Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation), Central Government (which owns NMDC)

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation (CMDC), National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC)

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Adani Enterprises Ltd (Mine Developer and Operator (MDO) in the project)

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Sanyukt Panchayat Samiti

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

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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

Text LinkLand Conflict Watch
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