We are excited to kick start the year with our 2024 Seed Calendar! It showcases 12 captivating stories through engrossing illustrations, and offers 12 different varieties of seeds to plant in your backyard. You can read the expanded versions of these stories of communities and individuals surrounding land rights here.
The calendar was made for our members, who have supported our research through the past year. To get a copy and support our work, you can consider becoming our member too and get access to exclusive reports, and more.
An investigation into the dilution of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 was conducted by our Senior Research Fellow, Priyansha Chouhan for the Frontline Magazine. The amendment, which exempted the industry from compensating tribals for accessing their resources, aka Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS), is perceived as benefiting big Ayurveda companies like Patanjali and depriving tribals of their resources. Experts fear this has the potential of exempting the whole of AYUSH industries from paying for the natural resources they use unabatedly. Read the full report to understand the implications for corporate accountability, community rights, and conservation efforts.
Our Writing Fellow Sukriti Vats dug deep into the mega-makeover of Ayodhya ahead of the Ram Temple inauguration. Behind this beautification drive lies 4,000 razed structures and complaints of over 40,000 residents about the unfair compensation and breach of land rights. Nearly 1200 acres of land are slated to be used for redevelopment in the town. Read the breakdown of the emerging land dispute here as well as the detailed case study in our database here.
We currently have 765 ongoing conflicts documented in the LCW database. Last month, our team of researchers added eight new conflicts listed below:
By Priyansha Chouhan
The Delhi government announced the new solar policy, 2024 on January 29. Set to be notified in the coming days, it aims to reduce the electricity bills and air pollution by incentivising setting up rooftop solar panels on government buildings, residential and commercial establishments.
Gujarat and Jharkhand also published draft energy policies earlier last year. Released in July 2022, draft Jharkhand power policy, 2023, seeks to generate 4000 MW clean energy, doubling the previous target. To achieve this ambitious target, ‘land banks’ would be created to ‘address land acquisition issues’ by aggregating readily available parcels of land.
Though states like Gujarat and Rajasthan promote leasing and a single-window clearance for approvals and better coordination between government departments and stakeholders, the land banks remain unique to Jharkhand. Experts fear that land banks are a recipe for land conflicts and a roadblock in clearance of pending forest rights in the tribal-dominated state.
By Anmol Gupta
Earlier in January, the issue of mining in the Aravalli range came up before the Supreme Court. In a preliminary hearing, the Supreme Court reiterated that the Haryana and Rajasthan state government can take measures to stop any mining activities happening in the area. The Central Empowered Committee, a committee constituted by the court to tackle environmental issues, was asked to examine if mining could be permitted in the Aravalli range. Experts have contended that recent amendments to forest conservation laws could threaten the Aravallis which are not yet notified as forests.
In another case later in January, the Court dismissed a petition filed by the environmental NGO Goa Foundation to broaden the criteria for classifying forests. Presently, land which is at least 5 hectares with 75% coverage of trees and canopy density of at least 40%, is considered as forest land. These criteria were first formulated by the Goa forest department in 1991. The writ petition filed by Goa Foundation challenged the 1991 criteria, suggesting that canopy density be changed from 40% to 10%. The NGO contended that several forests which were originally dense had degraded significantly over the years. Such forests had not been notified as forests, despite the Forest Survey of India including them in their criteria. The Court rejected these arguments, stating that the criteria could not be applied universally across the different states of the country. The Court also vacated its interim order from 2015, which mandated that the government not issue any ‘No Objection Certificate’ for land with tree canopy density more than 0.1 and an area above 1 hectare.
If you like our research and what we do at Land Conflict Watch, we’d like to draw your attention to our community membership plan. With our tailored plans, members can access special in-depth reports, policy briefs, curated expert talks, and behind-the-scenes interactions with our writers. It is your support that allows us to document and study the issues that impact the lives of millions in India. To support our work, please consider becoming a member by clicking here.