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Bokaro Steel Plant, Jharkhand, India


Bokaro Steel Plant was conceptualized in 1965 with the assistance of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and started its operation in 1972. Proximity to iron ore and coal blocks had made the place a favorable site for the steel plant. Now, the plant is a public sector undertaking under Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL). An up gradation of the plant was also done in 1990’s in its steel refining units and Continuous Casting Machines. The plant has recently taken expansion plan along with Korean Steel Company, Pohang Iron and Steel Company (POSCO)[1] Initially, about 64 moujas (a mouja may have several village units) had been acquired for the plant. Of the total land acquired, only 7,765 ha was used to set up the steel plant. The rest has been given by SAIL to the private parties without government’s approval. Among the total acquired land, about 49 villagers had raised their objections regarding the acquired land and the compensation amount. Also, the others who had taken compensation are not happy with the compensation amount and rehabilitation packages. Beside the issue of compensation, villagers have the objection because of the pollution caused by the plant. They are also organizing protest against the expansion of the plant [2].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Bokaro Steel Plant, Jharkhand, India
State or province:Jharkhand
Location of conflict:Town-Bokaro
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Urban development conflicts
Land acquisition conflicts
Mineral processing
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The plant is the fourth integrated plant in the Public Sector under Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL). It was the first steel plant built with the indigenous technology. The plant was modernized in 1990’s [1].

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Project area:13,695
Level of Investment for the conflictive project2,533,569,721 (Expansion plan of Rs 15,000 crore)
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:80,000-1,00,000 (16,000 families)
Start of the conflict:1965
Company names or state enterprises: Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) from India - Owner
Pohang Iron and Steel Company (POSCO) from Republic of Korea - Joint venture formed for up gradation
Relevant government actors:Government of Jharkhand
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Visthapit Sangharsha Morcha, Jharkhand Navnirman Sena, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha, Political Parties: Communist Party of India (Marxists)-Communist Party of India-Forward Bloc Marxist Coordination Committee-Communist Party of India (ML-Liberation)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Hunger strikes and self immolation
Refusal of compensation
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Land demarcation
Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Violent targeting of activists
Proposal and development of alternatives:The major demands of the affected people whose land has been acquired by the government are: firstly, they need at least one job for affected people and their families. Secondly, the compensation including interest should be paid at the current market price. Thirdly, the rehabilitation of people in the vacant land which are not used by the plant and also the infrastructure (like establishment of educational institutes) and provision of basic amenities in the areas where land has been acquired [2].
People reside nearby villages have lost their agricultural land and decreasing productivity due to the dumping of ash and other waste materials in the neighborhood. The waste water from the plant is also discharged in the river untreated. They demand immediate checking of pollution [2].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The land losers are not given adequate compensation, jobs or alternate land to resettle. The surplus land which is not being used by the company is not returned either to the state or to the affected families. These lands are rather hired for commercial purpose to some other parties.
Jharkhand High Court in May 2007 gave an order for a revised compensation. Even this revised compensation, was very low than the present market value of the land. Also, this revised compensation amount has not been distributed as lots of legal hassles involved. Beside this there is also the problem of encroachments on the unused land of the steel plant. Many outsiders have settled down on these lands causes a conflict between the original land owners and the migrants.
Another cause of concern is the agricultural lands in the neighborhoods have been destroyed because of fly ash and slags [2]
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Land Acquisition (Companies) Rules of 1963
[click to view]

Bihar Government Estates (khas Mahal) Manual, 1953
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

The Bokaro steel plant: a study of Soviet economic assistance by Padma Desai

North-Holland Pub. Co., 1972 - Political Science - 108 pages

Destitutes and Development: A Study of the Bauri Community in the Bokaro Region
[click to view]

Bokaro Steel Plant: Some Economic Aspects by Sutinder Bhatia

Popular Prakashan, 01-Jan-1991 - Business & Economics - 320 pages

[1] About Bokaro Steel Plant
[click to view]

[2] Bokaro's displaced still await compensation
[click to view]

[3] Stir for Bokaro steel jobs
[click to view]

[4] Jharkhand slips into bandh as Opposition protest displacement,leaving one dead
[click to view]

[5] 13 hurt in clash at Bokaro Steel Plant
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Jharkhand: JVM workers protest outside Assembly, 1 dead
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1319
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