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

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

Not just Indian women engineers, men too face sexual harassment at workplace: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research, carried out jointly by two US-based non-profit organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Center for WorkLife Law (WLL), based at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has found that 45% of women engineers as against 28% of men engineers complained that it was perceived as “inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.”

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

Poser to Modi: Why is Gujarat not fulfilling Constitutional obligations to minorities?

Counterview Desk
In an open letter, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), a Gujarat-based civil rights organization, has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi on infringing upon MCC activists’ constitutional right to protest. Nafees says, they had no other demands except that the Gujarat government should move towards fulfilling the constitutional obligations towards minorities and international treaties to which India is a signatory.