Skip to main content

Unresolved conflicts characterize environmental nod to 70 of 75 projects involving 7.28 lakh ha land: Study

Protest against the POSCO project in Jagatsinghpur, Odisha
By Rajiv Shah
A recent research study has said that of the “75 cases of conflict over land use change” involving 7,28,673 hectares (ha) “officially transferred through environmental clearance process”, in as many of 70 conflicts have remained unresolved even today. The projects have been chosen out of a list of environmental clearances granted to 14,498 projects, uploaded on the Union environment ministry’s website as of October 2017.
Most of the land use changes carried out for satisfying the demand for "developmental" needs relate to infrastructure expansion and industrial acceleration, and urbanisation.
Pointing out that “in five cases the conflicts have been resolved as per publicly available information, and in 2 cases the conflicts are unresolved but closed”, the study, “Midcourse Manoeuvres: Community strategies and remedies for natural resource conflicts in India”, defines a conflict to mean “the first known collective action against an existing or an upcoming project.”
The four sectors covered in the study are mining, power generation, industry and port development, the study says, adding, the two for which the conflicts have been dropped, even if they remain unresolved, are Commonwealth Games Village in New Delhi and Sompeta Super Critical Coal Based Thermal Power Plant in Andhra Pradesh (PPP).
Carried out by Kanchi Kohli, Meenakshi Kapoor, Manju Menon and Vidya Viswanathan of the CPR-Namati Environmental Justice Program (2018), and supported by the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada, the study says, of the 75 projects, “there are 46 thermal power plants” which have been “contested” to have “allocated 5,82,722 ha of land.”
The study further says, “In 70 of the 75 cases where conflicts are ongoing, we see that the conflict persisted for a period of 7 years or average age of 8.4 years as the time period during which the conflict had persisted.”
“The longest ongoing conflict among the 75 cases is on the Tehri Hydropower Plant in Uttarakhand, going on for more than 45 years, while the most recent conflict is Nyamjang Chhu Hydroelectric Project in Arunachal Pradesh, which started 1.7 years back”, the study notes.
The study says, “While in some cases the conflict had persisted even before a project was granted environment clearance, in some others, it seems to have appeared only after construction activity had begun”, adding, “Out of 75 cases, in 36 cases the environment approval was given to the project after the conflict began, and in 39 cases the conflict arose after the project got an environmental approval.”
Identifying three causes of conflicts, the study says, the first one is “non-fulfillment of assurances related to compensations and jobs”. Thus, in Gevra mines in Korba district, Chhattisgarh, “The mining proponents have chosen to use specific policy options for compensation, that deliberately deprive people of jobs… Having lost access to land and livelihoods, occupational and financial support is an ongoing bone of contention.”
“Similarly”, the study says, “the people living around the two thermal power plants in Singrauli region at the border of the Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh were promised contractual jobs.” It was revealed, however, “that while there were 20,000 people in the village, only 234 were given jobs.” 
Also, there is an 11-year-old resistance to land use change in Jagatsinghpur district in Odisha, resulting from a MoU, prompting the state government to create a land bank for a South Korean company, POSCO.
The second reason is “continued resistance against land use change”, the study says, quoting Satyajit Chavan, president, Jan Hakka Seva Samiti, an umbrella organisation for groups fighting against the Jaitapur nuclear power project in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, as saying that while they have “consistently” opposed the project for more than eight years, things have reached to a point where political intervention is necessary. 
The third reason is “air and water contamination and depletion”, the study says, giving the example of Mundra block of Kutch district of Gujarat, where “people affected in the region analysed the compliance of approval conditions of one large infrastructure project including several multi-utility ports, a railway line, and related facilities. They pointed to impacts of mangrove and sand dune destruction that had led to salinity increase, loss of fish catch and restriction on mobility in the area.”

Comments

TRENDING

ISKCON UK 'clarifies' after virus infects devotees, 5 die due to big temple meet

By Rajiv Shah
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), United Kingdom (UK), has admitted that at least 21 of its devotees were infected because of the spread of the coronavirus amongst the UK devotee community following the March 12 funeral and March 15 memorial of the Bhaktivedanta Manor temple president, in which about 1,000 people participated. Regretting that five of the devotees have passed away, the top Hindu religious in Britain body does not deny more may have been infected.

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Gujarat construction workers walk home as Rs 2,900 crore welfare fund lies unused

By Our Representative
Situated behind the Gujarat University, some of the families of the migrant construction workers from Dahod and Panchmahals districts of Gujarat, and a few from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, who had stayed put in make-shift shanties in Ahmedabad’s sprawling GMDC Ground, have begun a long journey, by foot, back to their home villages in the eastern tribal belt of Gujarat.