Adivasi protest in Gare Pelma coal mine, Kosampali, Chhattisgarh, India

A two decade long conflict over coal mining in the Gare Pelma block in Chhattisgarh, involving violence, prolonged struggle and with mixed results and uncertainties.


The Gare Pelma IV/ 2 & 3 coal block is a part of the Mand Raigarh coalfield in Ghargoda tehsil of Raigarh district, Chhattisgarh. The block covers 6 villages and is spread over 965 hectares with a geological reserve of 247 million tonnes of coal.

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Basic Data
NameAdivasi protest in Gare Pelma coal mine, Kosampali, Chhattisgarh, India
SiteGhargoda tehsil, Raigarh district
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local 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
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe Gare Pelma IV/2&3 coal block is a part of the Mand Raigarh coalfield in Ghargoda tehsil of Raigarh district, Chhattisgarh. The block covers 6 villages and is spread over 965 hectares with a geological reserve of 247 million tonnes of coal.
Project Area (in hectares)968
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date01/01/1998
Company Names or State EnterprisesJindal Steel and Power Limited from India
Relevant government actorsCoal India Limited and its subsidiary South Eastern Coalfields Limited
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersJan Chetna Manch, Raigarh.

Adivasi Majdoor Kisan Ekta Sangthan.
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Trade unions
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of MobilizationAppeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Development of a network/collective action
Hunger strikes and self immolation
Public campaigns
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Media based activism/alternative media
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Objections to the EIA
Street protest/marches
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Official complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Potential: Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnknown
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Criminalization of activists
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Violent targeting of activists
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Although there have been some victories in terms of getting court verdicts with respect to the formation of a committee to look into serious environmental violations as well as payment of Rs. 5 crore each by both CIL and Jindal as part of performance guarantee bond for compensating the affected people [3], the future plan of action isn't clear yet.
Sources and Materials

4.How Chhattisgarh's mine protest expose failure of India's coal auctions. This unusual protest unfolds the heart of the Mand Raigarh coalfields that hold 3.675 billion tonnes. 10 Sept 2017
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3. A Successful Protest Against a Chhattisgarh Mine Highlights the Failure of India’s Coal Auctions by Aruna Chandrashekhar, The Wire. 10.09.2017
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1. EIA for Jindal coal mine in Chhattisgarh ignores threats. Sujit Kumar. Down to Earth. 15 February 2008
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2. Newspaper article in The Hindu about the quashing of the Environmental Clearance by the National Green Tribunal in 2012.
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Media Links

Video mentioning how the public hearing conducted by Jindal was fake, and the green tribunal rejected the environmental clearance.
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The Death of Kelo River, by Video Volunteer Savita Rath
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Other Documents

Description of the coal block
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Kanhai Patel (R), who was on a hunger strike. Credit: Aruna Chandrasekhar
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Adivasi women camp at a tent set up at the entrance of the mine. Women and children are currently facing the worst health impacts from coal-dust and fly-ash pollution from industries in the region. Credit: Aruna Chandrasekhar
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Children from Kosampali village walk past a sign signalling blasting in the Gare Pelma IV/2&3 mines. Many houses here are less than 200 metres from the mine’s blasting site. Credit: Aruna Chandrasekhar
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ContributorBrototi Roy
Last update09/01/2018