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Land acquisition for coalmining: Outdated law being used to 'bypass' consultation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

Australia least prepared to fight Hindu 'extremism', admits diaspora NGO group

Tiranga rally in Sydney: Cause of stir among diaspora By Our Representative  The Australian Alliance Against Hate and Violence (AAAHAV) has said that Australia is “least prepared” to counter the allegedly “rising threat of Hindu far right extremism”. Calling upon politicians, federal and state governments to “urgently recognise the threat far-right Hindu extremism”, it asks “to take concrete steps to address this threat.”

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

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.

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

'Bird, take me flying with you too!' Being Devangana Kalita

By Ashley Tellis*  I first met Devangana Kalita in a first year English Honours classroom in which I entered to teach Charles Dickens’ Hard Times in Miranda House, Delhi University, in 2008. She was one of the smartest students in the class – Devangana smiled the most and had the brightest twinkle in her eyes of the girls in the class. A middle class girl – Kalita comes from a family in upper Assam, the Kalitas along with the Brahmins dominate Assam (the Bamon-Kolita nexus as it is called) – in an elite all women’s institution known for a feminist, rebellious history. Like all institutions, it was repressive; like all all-women institutions, particularly so. But Miranda House had met its match in Devangana. She organised, protested, all within the democratic tradition resisted. The seeds of Pinjra Tod, the group Devangana was to eventually co-found, and which now finds her jailed for as absurd a reason as inciting a ‘riot’ were already sown in that first year. By the third year, they

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.

NAPM extends support to Indian, Aussie citizen groups 'opposing' Adani ventures

#StopAdani action in Australia  Counterview Desk  The civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), extending solidarity to the global campaign by the Youth Action to Stop Adani (YAStA), held in recently in Australia and India, has said that the effort was to bring more attention to the struggle aboriginal, indigenous peoples, farmers, working class and other oppressed communities against allegedly anti-people multinational corporate conglomerates.