KPL conflict, Karnataka, India


On 14 November 1984 the government of Karnataka made an angreement with Harihar Polyfibres (of the Birla family), a rayon producing company. The new company Karnataka Pulpwoods Limited (KLP) was owne 51% by the governemnt and 49% by the Birla.

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Basic Data
NameKPL conflict, Karnataka, India
SiteKushnoor area
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific CommoditiesEucalyptus
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe state government decided to lease over 28,350 hectares of degraded and reserved forests lands in the Kunsur (or Kushnoor) cluster of villages for forty years to the Karnataka Pulpwood Ltd (KPL) - a joint sector company formed on November 14, 1984 by the government of Karnataka and the Birla-owned Harihar Polyfibres - for raising captive eucalyptus plantations.
Project Area (in hectares)28,350
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date14/11/1984
End Date03/10/1991
Company Names or State EnterprisesBirla from India
Karnataka Pulpwood Ltd from India
Relevant government actorsKarnataka State government

Supreme Court of India

Chief Conservator of Forest

State Assembly (Karnataka)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersNGO Samaj Parivartan Samudaya (SPS) with the Guddanadu Abhivruddi Samiti (a village organization)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Forms of MobilizationArtistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Development of alternative proposals
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Saplings of eucalyptus were uprooted and replaced with tree species locally useful.
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage)
Potential: Desertification/Drought, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women
Potential: Displacement, Violations of human rights
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseInstitutional changes
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
Project cancelled
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.Local movement stops an industrial tree plantation by state government and by a power industrial conglomerate (Birla) in order to protect local livelihoods. Support from local legislators.
Sources and Materials

Guha, R., and J. Martínez-Alier, 1997. Varieties of environmentalism: essays North and South. London: Earthscan, p. 6-11.


Down to Earth article (1998)
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Meta Information
ContributorJ.-F. Gerber
Last update03/05/2014