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

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".

Ex-IAS, IPS, IFS officers tell Modi: Pragya Thakur doesn't represent India's rich heritage

Counterview Desk
In an open statement, a group of former civil servants have said that normally they would have dismissed the candidature of Pragya Thakur, who is BJP’s choice for the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, as an act of political expediency. However, they were forced to react to her candidature after none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed has as a “symbol of our civilisational heritage.”

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.

India sans Modi preferable, Congress worthier recipient of Indians’ votes: The Economist

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded and crucial commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the electoral political battle is on, influential British weekly “The Economist”, has declared that “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader”, even as pointing out that that under Modi, “India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.”