Skip to main content

Paris talks? India to double coal production by 2019, as affected communities’ rights put on back foot: Report

Counterview Desk
An international advocacy group report, prepared even as the Paris talks on climate change are on, has accused India that Government of India and India’s coal companies operating in the private sector of causing “major, countervailing detrimental effects on communities which had previously sustained themselves with farming, fishing, hunting and other activities.”
The report states, this is happening not just in around the coalmines, which are spread across fifteen states, with Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand being the top coal producers, but also states like Gujarat, which has been a major player in private sector coal-based power plants.
Already, the report says, India the "third-largest consumer of coal in the world, generating approximately 80% of its electricity from coal", adding, "It is also the third-largest producer with a production of 613 MT of coal in 2013, and the third largest importer, as despite its vast reserves, it needs to compensate for the poor quality of its domestic coal."
Underlining that "the high ash content of India’s coal pollutes twice as much as the coal it imports", the report predicts doubling of use of domestic coal by 2019. It says, this would be possible thanks to India shedding its 40 year state monopoly over coal mining in India, with the game changers being two laws, the Coal Mines Special Provisions Bill, and the Mines & Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Bill, "allowing private companies to mine and sell coal in India.”
“These laws also made way for foreign investment in India’s coal sector”, the report, titled “Digging Deeper: The Human Rights Impacts of Coal in the Global South”, a report by the Dejusticia, Colombia, and Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, London, notes.
Identifying several companies – an RP Goenka Group conglomerate in Jharkhand, Welspun Energy in Uttar Pradesh, Adani Power in Karnataka, Reliance in Madhya Pradesh, and Tata Mundra plant in Gujarat, the report states, they present a “gloomy picture of land acquisition without protection of affected people’s rights”.
Claiming that “pollution from coal power plants is causing 80-120,000 premature deaths per year, and as many as 20 million new asthma cases”, the report quotes a Greenpeace India report which says that “coal-fired energy production, as currently conducted in India, is responsible for hundreds of thousands of lives lost.”
Referring to how those operating these mines have found “the perfect workers: children”, the report states, “Employment in the mines represents one of the worst forms of child labour.” It quotes a study to say that an “estimated 70,000 children work in these mines, most of whom were illegally trafficked from the neighboring countries of Bangladesh and Nepal.”
Referring to Tata Mundra Plant in Gujarat, the report says, “The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, which financed the project, touted it for its support to local communities. However, its effects on the Wagher fishing community, a Muslim minority identified as ‘a socially and educationally backward caste’, contradict these claims.”
“The operations of the power plant devastated the community’s livelihood, having salinized fertile land and ground water, and caused both decline in the local fish population, and lasting health effects on the community. With the destruction of their fishing livelihood, the community, with the support of local NGOs, filed lawsuits against the company”, the report says.
The report says, “India faces contradictions between the drive to develop and industrialize, and the need to address the severe negative impacts of coal energy. In making major decisions on these questions, vulnerable populations’ rights must be put back at the forefront.”

Comments

TRENDING

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

WHO move can 'enable' India to detain citizens, restrict freedom, control media

Counterview Desk  In an an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with copies to concerned Cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and MPs,  health rights network  People’s Alliance for Public Health (PAPH alias JanSwasthya Morcha), has urged that India should not be a signatory to the World Health Organization ( WHO) Pandemic Agreement and Amendments to the  International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005  to be adopted at the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva from 27th May to 1st June, 2024.

'Enough evidence': Covid vaccines impacted women's reproductive health

By Deepika*  In 2024, the news outlets have suddenly started reporting about covid vaccine side effects in a very extensive manner. Sadly, the damage is already done.

Can scientists believe in God, yet explore nature 'abandoning' belief?

By Dr TV Sajeev*  In August 2023, India celebrated the successful soft-landing of Chandrayan on the south pole of the moon. That mission too led to some questioning about whether scientists could believe in God. The culture of temple visits and poojas before the launch of rockets with or without payload had been a mocking point for a long while. 

Growing stream of pollution infecting homes, bodies in US, Vietnam

By Erica Cirino*  Louisiana’s “River Parishes,” located along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, shoulder some of the worst industry impacts in the United States. As a result, this region has acquired a grim reputation as “ Cancer Alley .” 

'Uncertainty in Iran': Raisi brokered crucial Chabahar Port deal with India

By Pranjal Pandey*  Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian President, and the country’s foreign minister were tragically found deceased on May 20, 2024, shortly after their helicopter crashed in foggy conditions. In response, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei swiftly appointed a relatively unknown vice president as the interim leader.

Informal, outdoor workers 'excluded': Govt of India's excessive heat policies

Counterview Desk  Top civil rights network, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), has demanded urgent government action to protect millions of outdoor workers from extreme heat and heatwaves, insisting declaration of heatwaves as climatic disaster.