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Calcite mining in Nimmalapadu village, AP, India


Description:

Nimmalapadu in Andhra Pradesh is mostly tribal dominated area and the residents are mainly farmers. They used to cultivate three crops a year by managing the flow of a small stream into the village.

Aditya Birla Group's Birla Periclase wanted to mine calcite in the area to produce magnesia at its factory located 110 km away in Visakhapatnam.

Because of calcite mining in the village, large tribal population would have been displaced. In 1987, the company started to dig in the village land. Government officials also asked the villagers to vacate the land. At that time Government offered very meager compensation (about Rs 5,000 per family).

Determined not to allow mining in their village, the people of Nimmalapadu began a struggle against the government and Birla Periclase. Samata, an NGO based in Hyderabad, helped the villagers in organising the agitation. On the advice of Samata, the villagers filed a case in the High Court, which they lost in 1995 [1].

But Samata took up the cause and filed a case in the Supreme Court on behalf of the villagers. A 10-year struggle led to a historical judgement in 1997, widely known as the Samata judgement, in which the Court ruled that the state had no right to grant leases in areas governed by the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution. Only cooperative societies jointly run by tribals could mine in such areas.

[2, 3].

Birla Periclase is a subsidiary company of Indian Rayon and Industries; it was given a lease of 120 acres in Nimmalapadu in 1987. The land was given to extract calcite, one of the principal raw materials for the company's Sea Water Magnesia plant near Bheemunipatnam in Vishakhapatnam district. It was not only the lease that raised the alarm among the adivasis, but also the infrastructure facilities provided by the state government to facilitate the mining operations. The state government shared 50% of the cost of constructing roads, acted as a 'facilitator' to acquire land for a 22 km long road, with width varying from 25ft to 90 ft, and promoted construction of road for the actual operation site in the name of ‘public purpose'[4].

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Calcite mining in Nimmalapadu village, AP, India
Country:India
State or province:Andhra Pradesh
Location of conflict:Nimmalapadu, Chintapalle, Visakhapatnam
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral ore exploration
Specific commodities:Calcite, Magnesium

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Birla Periclase, a subsidiary company of Indian Rayon and Industries was given a lease of 120 acres in Nimmalapadu in 1987. The land was given to extract calcite, one of the principal raw materials for the company's Sea Water Magnesia plant near Bheemunipatnam in Vishakhapatnam district. It was not only the lease that raised the alarm among the adivasis, but also the infrastructure facilities provided by the state government to facilitate the mining operations. The state government shared 50% of the cost of constructing roads, acted as a 'facilitator' to acquire land for a 22 km long road, with width varying from 25ft to 90 ft, and promoted construction of road for the actual operation site in the name of ‘public purpose'[4].

Project area:48.6
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:1987
Company names or state enterprises:Birla Periclase from India - a subsidiary company of Indian Rayon and Industries (India)
Indian Rayon and Industries from India
Relevant government actors:Government of Andhra Pradesh
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Samata- a Hyderabad-based NGO, http://samataindia.org.in/, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Samata/118445384842399

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism

Impacts

Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, 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, Mine tailing spills
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place

Outcome

Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Project cancelled
Development of alternatives:Only cooperative societies run by indigenous local residents should operate in the area.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The Court Judgement known as 'Samata judgement' which came after a 10-year struggle. In the judgment known as the Court ruled that the state had no right to grant leases in areas governed by the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution. Only cooperative societies jointly run by tribals could mine in such areas [2]

Sources & Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) (PESA) Act

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

A report on Profit Sharing with local communities
http://www.cseindia.org/userfiles/profit_sharing.pdf

THE FIFTH SCHEDULE OF THE CONSTITUTION AND THE SAMATHA JUDGEMENT
http://www.samataindia.org.in/documents/SAMATA_EDIT1.PDF

Sharing the Wealth of Minerals

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

https://ia600301.us.archive.org/17/items/ThisIsOurHomelandACollectionOfEssaysOnTheBetrayalOfAdivasi/ThisIsOurHomeland.pdf

vs AP.htm
http://mmpindia.in/samatha

[3] Tribal onslaughts
http://www.downtoearth.org.in/node/28986

[1] Mining, people and the environment : The Implications of the EU-India Free Trade Agreement by Chandra Bhushan and Sugandh Juneja
http://www2.weed-online.org/uploads/mining_people_and_the_environment_2012.pdf

[2] NIMMALAPADU
http://cseindia.org/mining/1district_andhra.htm

CPI(M) launches ‘porata yatra against mining
http://www.hindu.com/2011/06/18/stories/2011061863370300.htm

Makireddy: Rallying for adivasi land rights
http://thealternative.in/content-type/voices/rallying-adivasi-land-rights-samata-judgement/

SAMATA – A PROFILE
http://mmpindia.in/Samataprofile.htm

Girijans oppose calcite mining
http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-andhrapradesh/girijans-oppose-calcite-mining/article1178531.ece

[4] This is our homeland: a collection of essays on the betrayal of adivasi rights in India

Samatha Vs State of Andhra Pradesh

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Contributor:Sohan Prasad Sha & Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update08/04/2014

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