Skip to main content

Tribals' land right cancelled to "benefit" Adani Group-supported coal mining project in Chhattisgarh: Report

By Our Representative
In a move without any precedence, the Chhattisgarh government has cancelled the right of the tribals over land, formally given to them by the state authorities under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) after the gram sabha of the village, to which the land belonged, formally approved of it.
This was reportedly done in order to “benefit” a coalmining project in which the powerful Adani Group, close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is a partner.
The matter concerns Ghatbarra village of Surguja district, where the state government wants to facilitate coal mining of Prasa East and Kete Besan coal block, allocated to Rajasthan Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited (RVUNL) and Adani Minerals Private Limited.
Passing its order cancelling the tribals’ right over the land they were allocated, the state government stated in its order of January 8 that the villagers had been “using” their legal rights over the forest land to “stop work of mining in their village, which falls in the Parsa East and Kete Besan coal block.”
Reporting on the development, Nitin Sethi, top environmental journalist, says, “It is the first such order to come to light across the country where community rights of tribals have been summarily cancelled after being granted through the process laid down in the FRA.”
According to Sethi, “The FRA does not provide for revocation of either community or individual land rights once granted under the law. The law provides only for the government diverting the forest land for some other purpose after prior informed consent of the tribals through their gram sabha.”

Tribal rights under FRA

He adds, “Under the FRA tribals are empowered to claim individual and community rights over forestlands they have traditionally lived on… Under the FRA, the gram sabha is the only authority empowered to decide the future of traditional tribal lands.”
The gram sabha of Bhatbarra approved the right of the tribals for the land in September 3, 2013, after which they were handed over the lands by the state government, says the report.
And when the village became aware that the coal block could remain susceptible to miningin October 2014 the village gram sabha of Ghatbarra, along with 19 other villages, formally passed a resolution opposing the mining in their lands, it adds.
The Government of India nod giving clearance to divert the land for mining in 2012 without settling tribal rights is reported to have become the main reason for the state government to hand over the land for mining setting aside the tribals’ right over their land.
The state government order of January 8 said, “Because the land had been given in 2012 to the company for mining, it no longer classified as forestland in 2013 when it was given to tribals under the FRA.”
This was done, says Sethi, despite the fact that in 2014, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) “cancelled the forest clearance noting that the environment ministry had not looked at the impact of coal mining on biodiversity in the region including presence of protected species such as the elephant.”

Comments

TRENDING

It's now official: Developed Gujarat's regular, casual workers earn less than 19 top states

By Rajiv Shah
Though not as low as state chief minister Vijay Rupani claims it to be (0.9%), Gujarat’s unemployment rate, at least as reflected in a recent report released by the Government of India, is 4.8%, lower than the national average, 6%. Yet, ironically, the same report, released soon after the Lok Sabha polls came to an end in May 2019, brings to light an even grimmer reality: Lower wages in "model" and "developed" Gujarat compared to virtually the whole of India, including the so-called Bimaru states.

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

Amaravati: World Bank refusing to share public grievances on Land Pooling Scheme

By Our Representative
A new report, prepared by the advocacy group Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), New Delhi, has taken strong exception to the World Bank refusing to share its independent assessment of the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), floated by the Andhra Pradesh government in order to build the new capital.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

Include all workers exposed to silica dust in anti-TB programme: Govt of India told

Counterview Desk
In a letter, sponsored by well-known civil rights organization, Occupational & Environmental Health Network of India and signed by more than 60 professionals and activists*, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has been told that Indian policy makers shouldn't just acknowledge higher TB risk to mine and stone crusher workers, but also “other silica-exposed workers”.

Govt of India 'lying': MGNREGA budget reduced by Rs 1,084 crore in 2019-20

Counterview Desk
NREGA Sangharsh Morcha, a well-known advocacy group for the rural jobs guarantee scheme, under implementation since 2005, has said that the statement by the Rural Development Minister has a made a mockery of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) on the floor of Parliament, revealing the ruling BJP’s “anti-worker and anti-poor bias”.

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Govt of India seeks to 'subvert' autonomy of adjudicating authorities: RTI amendment

Counterview Desk
India's independent Right to Information watchdog, The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI), in a statement, has said that the Government of India’s proposed amendments to the RTI Act to empower the Centre to unilaterally decide the tenure, salary, allowances and other terms of service of Information Commissioners at the Centre and States “seriously undermine” the law.