Direct violation of Forest Rights Act in the mining belt of Surguja district, Chhattisgarh, India

This is the first case where rights granted to forest lands under the FRA 2006 to the indigenous people were taken away by the government officials to promote coal mining in Chhattisgarh.


Description

   The Scheduled tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers Act, which is commonly known as the Forest Rights Act (FRA), provides indigenous communities, through individual as well as community rights, the opportunities to claim legal ownership over the forests that they have lived on and conserved for hundreds of years. There have been many delays and misconducts in the granting of these forest rights to the indigenous people of India, due to the profit making at the extractive commodity frontiers.

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Basic Data
NameDirect violation of Forest Rights Act in the mining belt of Surguja district, Chhattisgarh, India
CountryIndia
ProvinceChhattisgarh
SiteSurguja district
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Coal extraction and processing
Specific CommoditiesLand
Coal
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe PEKB coal block is a part of the Hasdeo-Arand coal field. This coalfield is spread over an area of 1,878 sq kms in Korba, Surguja and Surajpur districts in north Chhattisgarh. Of the total area, 1,502 sq km area is under biodiversity-rich forest cover. The coalfield has total estimated reserves of 5, 529 million tonne (1). Out of this, PEKB has a reserve of 450 million tonnes of coal. This was alloted to RVUNL with Adani as the mine developer in 2007 for developing captive opencast mine for power generation linked with two power plants in Rajasthan, namely Chhabra Phase II TPP (2x250 MW) and Kalisindh TPP (2x600MW).
Project Area (in hectares)187,800
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population1200-1500
Start Date01/01/2012
Company Names or State EnterprisesRajasthan Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited (RVUNL) from India - Coal block allocated
Adani Mining Pvt Ltd from India
Relevant government actorsForest Department, Chhattisgarh

Department of Tribal Affairs, District Administration of Surguja
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersChhattisgarh Bachao Andolan (Save Chhattisgarh Movement), Jana-Abhivyakti (People's Voice), Janhit (People's Welfare), All India Forum of Forest Movements, Hasdeo Arand Bachao Sangharsh Samiti
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Informal workers
Local ejos
Women
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Strikes
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Noise pollution, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Global warming, Soil contamination, Food insecurity (crop damage)
Health ImpactsPotential: Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Project temporarily suspended
Development of AlternativesThe local people as well as the ejos want a complete ban in coal mining in these biodiverse rich forest areas.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The mining clearances were given without following the correct procedure of consultation with the gram sabhas of the affected villages in 2012. And in 2016, forest rights issued to the villagers were also cancelled illegally when villagers started protesting against the coal mining in the PEKB coal block.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

National Green Tribunal halted the mining project
[click to view]

Details of the National Green Tribunal order to stop the mining in PEKB coal block
[click to view]

References

Ghosh, D. 2016. 'We don’t want to eat coal': Development and its Discontents in a Chhattisgarh district in India. Energy Policy
[click to view]

Links

News about the Adani mining in Chhattisgarh in 2014.
[click to view]

Description of the cancellation of forest rights.
[click to view]

Details of the January 8, 2016 order of cancellation of forest rights.
[click to view]

Protest by villagers and indigenous people against coal mining in the forests of Chhattisgarh.
[click to view]

(1) Information about the Hasdeo Arand coal field.
[click to view]

Media Links

Not Just A Coal Block | Jan. 2, 2015 | Chitrangada Choudhury, with photos from Hasdeo Arand Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, a village-level organisation set up to protect the Hasdeo Arand forests, and lands and livelihoods of the area's communities.
[click to view]

Other Documents

His land turned into the Kante Basan coal block, Adivasi farmer Govind Ram lives on its edge awaiting rehabilitation Source: Not Just A Coal Block | Jan. 2, 2015 | Chitrangada Choudhury
[click to view]

Source: Hasdeo Arand Bachao Sangharsh Samiti
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorBrototi Roy
Last update12/01/2017
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