Skip to main content

Land acquisition for coalmining: Outdated law being used to 'bypass' consultation

Chhattisgarh Adivasis protest Govt of India move 
Counterview Desk 
The Union Ministry of Coal’s notification to acquire more than 700 hectares of forest and Adivasi land in the Hadeo Aranya region of Chhattisgarh for under the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition & Development) Act, 1957, is a “blatant attempt to bypass public consultation provisions under multiple Central laws including, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), a civil rights network, has said.
The laws which are being allegedly being violated to allow the proposed Madan;pur South coalmine in the Hadeo Aranya include Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, (PESA), 1996; Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006; Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006, the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (RFCTLARR) Act, 2013, NAPM said, even as extending solidarity with the protesting local communities.
Seeking withdrawal of the notification, NAPM insisted in a statement, the “government must respect constitutional powers of adivasi gram sabhas demanding withdrawal of the land acquisition notification and recognize their right over community forest resources.”

Text:

NAPM strongly condemns the recent attempt by the Union Ministry of Coal to acquire land for the proposed Madanpur South coal mine in Hasdeo Aranya region of Korba, Chhattisgarh without the consultation and consent of affected Gond Adivasi and other local communities.
On December 24, 2020, the Coal Ministry issued a notification to acquire 712.072 hectares of forest and Adivasi land affected by the project under the provisions of the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition & Development) Act, 1957, of which 648.601 hectares is forest land and 63.471 is non-forest and private land.
Most of this land lies in the dense and biodiversity-rich Hasdeo Aranya forest region which will be decimated by multiple coal mining projects being proposed in this area. The forest areas earmarked for diversion by this project also overlap with land for elephant reserve proposed by the Chhattisgarh state government.
The Madanpur South mine was allotted by the Central government to the Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC) in 2016, which chose Essel Mining & Industries Limited (part of the Aditya Birla Group) as the private Mine Developer and Operator (MDO) of the mine. The project is yet to acquire mandatory Environmental and Forest Clearances required prior to the start of land acquisition and mining.
Local, predominantly Gond Adivasi, and forest dependent communities of the Hasdeo Aranya region have been strongly opposed to the project. The proposed mine will displace an estimated 90 families in the two villages of Morga and Ketma. It will also completely destroy large areas of dense forests and water bodies that are central to the livelihood of hundreds of families in the region.
Multiple central government laws for land acquisition of Adivasi land and diversion of forest land require the prior consultation and consent of affected communities. These include the Forest Conservation Act, 1980; Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996; Forest Rights Act, 2006; Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006; and Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.
In contrast to these legislations, land notified under the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition & Development) Act can be acquired without consultation of affected communities, who have only 30 days to submit their objections. The Coal Ministry’s recent attempt to use this outdated and draconian Act for land acquisition is a clear attempt to bypass vital provisions for public consultation and consent prior to land acquisition.
Demand for recognition of community forest resources rights under the Forest Rights Act, filed by 21 gram sabhas in the Hasdeo Arand region, remains pending
Adivasi and other local communities who will lose their land and forests due to the Madanpur South Mine have strongly rejected the government’s unjust and illegal efforts to acquire their land. On January 16, 10 gram sabhas from the Hasdeo Aranya region formally registered their opposition to this project and the absence of public consultation processes with the Union Coal Ministry and Government of Chhattisgarh. Ongoing protests in Morga, one of the villages facing displacement due to the mine, have also seen strong participation from other villages in the region.
These have included a public gathering under the banner of the Hasdeo Aranya Bachao Sangharsh Samiti on February 11, which involved hundreds of villagers affected by three other proposed coal mines in Hasdeo Aranya -- Parsa, Paturia and Gidhmuri. 
Moreover, the demand for recognition of community forest resources rights under the Forest Rights Act, filed by 21 gram sabhas in the Hasdeo Arand region, remains pending. Under this Act’s provisions, diversion of forest land can only be undertaken after the formal settlement of such claims to community forest resources.
NAPM stands in solidarity with Gond Adivasi and local communities opposing the Madanpur South coal mine and other proposed mines in the Hasdeo Aranya forest region. We fully support their legitimate demands for cancellation of these projects, which severely threaten their livelihoods, environment, health and way of life.
The Union Ministry of Coal must immediately withdraw its unfair and illegal notification to acquire land using provisions of the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition & Development) Act. The use of outdated laws to bypass established processes for public consultation and consent of local communities is condemnable.
  • We demand that claims filed by affected gram sabhas for community forest resources under the Forest Rights Act be recognised on an urgent basis.
  • Union Government must reinstate previous recognition of Hasdeo Aranya and other highly biodiverse forest regions as ‘no-go’ areas for coal mining projects.
---
Click here for signatories

Comments

Anonymous said…
If the person bidding for mining rights is a crony politician - the process of overturning law and governments becomes very easy

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Liberating Bengal Hindus? Worst flames of communal division, lessons from the past

By Shamsul Islam*  The whole thrust of the RSS-BJP election campaign for 2021 state assembly elections in West Bengal has been to save Bengal from the rule of Mamata Bannerjee who is allegedly not a ‘Hindu’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist, as usual set the polarizing agenda. While addressing the first election rally, he called upon the electorate to overthrow the ‘nirmam’ (cruel) rule of Mamata by showing a ‘Ram Card’. He did not name Hindus directly but there was no confusion about the religious identity of the electorate Indian PM was addressing to.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Rs 5 crore 'demand' for India Today anchor: What about 52 lesser souls who died in April?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  A well known Hindutva protagonist masquerading as journalist passed away recently resulting in messages of condolences and tribute right from the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to progressive liberals expressing grief of his untimely death. It is said that he passed away due to cardiac arrest, though the fact is, he was also Covid infected. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister termed him a ‘brave’ journalist, insisting, his passing away has left a big ‘vacuum’.

Pradeep Bhattacharya, who spent his life for the cause of working masses, rational thinking

By YS Gill*  At 11:30 pm on May 3, 2021, I lost my best friend and comrade Pradeep Bhattacharya. He spent his life dedicated to the cause of the working masses and rational thinking. A person of thorough scientific outlook and a well-read student of Marxian thought, he was a walking encyclopedia and could speak on a wide variety of topics from art and culture to science, philosophy, history and politics.

Modi's Hindutva 'ensuring' empowerment of rich, disenfranchisement of poor

Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The Hindutva socio-psychopaths are neither nationalists nor patriotic people. These medieval reactionary forces don’t understand the idea of citizenship, justice, liberty, equality and humanism. Indian democracy is merely an electoral transaction for the Hindutva forces. Hindutva forces neither follow science nor understand the sufferings of fellow human beings. These core qualities are common among the Hindutva forces in India.

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

India's Covid-19 'nightmare': A product of majoritarian Hindutva ideological praxis?

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Indians struggle to find place and time to bury their dead due to the devastating effects of the second wave of Covid-19 in India. The crematoriums in the capital cities are overflowing with dead bodies. People are dying without oxygen and basic medical support. The cities like Delhi and Mumbai are struggling to cope with the rising number of infections and COVID-19 led deaths. The deaths and destitutions are products of a defunct BJP government led by Narendra Modi.

Indian media persons collapsing to Covid disease as fast as 3 per day, third highest

Yogesh Sharma, Shailesh Rawal  By Our Representative  The Switzerland based media rights and safety body, Press Emblem Campaign ( PEC ) has said that it is “alarming for Indian journalists”, who have lost at least 107 colleagues to Covid-19”, noting, Indian “journo-colleagues” have been collapsing to the Covid-19 complications now as fast as three scribes per day. In a statement, PEC said, “India with 107 media corona-casualties has already placed itself on the third position just below Brazil (181 dead) and Peru (140) in the list of Covid-19 victims among journalist.”