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Panem Coal Mines, Jharkhand, India


Local villagers protest against one of the largest coal mines of Jharkhand run by Panem Coal Mines Limited. People have put blockade to all kind of works for about 20 days In Nov-Dec 2012.

Uncertainty hangs over the project, with locals vowing not to let a single coal-laden truck leave the mines until the displaced families are rehabilitated.

The former chief minister who hails from tribal in a letter to then Indian premier said,' not only is the company involved in exploitation of natural resources illegally, it is also doing injustice to the tribal people of the area and is grossly violating environmental norms.'.(1) The former chief minister claimed that Panem Coal Mines Limited extracting coal in excess from its allotted coal mine in Pakur district of Jharkhand. He termed the action of the company as 'theft' that was continuing for the last six years.

Catholic nun Valsa John (52), who was involved in a movement against displacement of tribal people by coal mining companies in Jharkhand, was shot dead in November 2011 . She was a member of the Rajmahal Pahar Bachao Andolan. The murder happened at Bachuwari village of Pakur district, The police suspect the coal mafia to be behind it. In the immediate context, she had been protesting against the functioning of a private coal mine in Pakur district. She was staying in Bachwari for the last 12 years, all by herself. She was seeking to protect the interests of the Santhal tribe, some members of which were displaced by the Panem Coal Mines.(3) 

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Panem Coal Mines, Jharkhand, India
State or province:Jharkhand
Location of conflict:Pakur
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Coal extraction and processing
Specific commodities:Coal

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The mine in the Pakur district has about 562 million tonnes of coal reserves. The company has been allowed to do open-mining for 44 years.

Type of populationRural
Affected Population:10,000-20,000
Start of the conflict:2011
Company names or state enterprises:Panem from India - is a joint venture company between the Punjab State Electricity Board and a Kolkata-based private company
Punjab State Electricity Board from India
Relevant government actors:Punjab State Electricity Board Government of Jharkhand
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Rajmahal Pahar Bachao Samiti, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha Prajatantric-JVM) chief Babulal Marandi, Jharkhand Congress Party

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local government/political parties
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Santhal adivasi
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Street protest/marches


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Under negotiation
Development of alternatives:Fair rehabilitation through compensation and public services.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The decision to end the strike was arrived at a meeting organised by Santhal Pargana district commissioner with Panem Coal Mines chairman and managing director along with representatives from different political leaders and Rajmahal Pahari Bachao Andolan Samiti. Assurance has given to start a plus-two school and a hospital within next six months. The mines authority has also assured to provide irrigation facilities to the farmers in the affected area, besides electricity, employment and adequate compensation for land acquisition. (2)

Sources & Materials

'Marandi’s protest continues, to block Coal-rakes in Pakur'

(2) Down to Earth, 'Panem agrees to honour promises made to tribal people'

(1) Jharkhand former CM wants inquiry against Panem Coal Mines

NDTV, '20 days on, Jharkhands Panem mine remains locked by protest'

(3) The real truth (Countercurrents, 27 Nov 2011) (on the killing of Sister Valsa John)

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Jharkhand- Politics around Panem Coal mines

Video 'Jharkhands Panem mine remains locked by protest'

Video in Hindi

Meta information

Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update18/08/2019



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