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Chhattisgarh: Ministry of Coal plan to acquire nearly 2000 hectares of protected forest land

Villagers, advocates and activists point out that the government should not undertake the project without the approval of local people.

20 Oct 2020

Image Courtesy:hindustantimes.com

The Ministry of Coal plans to acquire 1,760 hectares of protected forested land in Sarguja, Chhattisgarh for mining, said a Daily Chhattisgarh report on October 15, 2020.

The report, which was the first public announcement of such a project, said the notification was issued on May 11 for the Hasdeo Arand area, one of the largest contiguous stretches of dense forest in central India spanning 170,000 hectares with 22 coal blocks. According to the Coal Ministry, the Kente extension coal block there has total coal resources estimated at 200 million tonnes.

Noting the resistance from the state government, Union Minister of Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi, accepted a proposal to exclude five coal blocks in the area – Morga -2, Morga (south), Madanpur (north), Shyang, and Fathehpur (east) – that were among 41 coal mines being auctioned.

The government plans to acquire the land under the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act provides land ownership to the centre within two years of notification provided it is satisfied that coal is extractable from whole or part of a tract of land.

However, convener of the Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan Alok Shukla, argued that there should be no mining in the area because it is proximity to dense forests. He said the state government should have notified Gram Sabhas to seek people’s opinion first because the decision “devastate the lives of local people.” This claim also goes in line with the rights given to indigenous people under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.

Similarly, environmental lawyer Sudiep Shrivastava said the decision went against the Supreme Court’s observation on September 30 that neither the centre nor the state has the right to mine an area if it falls in an eco-sensitive zone.

This decision is based on a plea by the Jharkhand government that challenged the Centre’s plan to auction coal blocks for commercial mining. Chief Justice of India S. A. Bobde had asked the Centre to file an affidavit on whether the coal blocks being auctioned are in eco-sensitive zones or not.

The Hasdeo Arand area, being the catchment area of River Hasdeo, has very high crown density. Moreover, the Coal Bearing Areas Act cannot grant land ownership to a state PSU which has a mine developer and operator (MDO) agreement with a private company, although attempts are being made to bring such an amendment.

In 2009, the Environment Ministry categorised Hasdeo Arand stretch as a “No-Go” zone for mining. However, it was opened to mining again because the policy wasn’t finalized. A senior official from the Ministry said that coal mining is impossible without environmental clearance and forest clearance. The specifics of this case would be known to Coal India Limited.

Much like the Coal Bearing Areas Act, the government has made many changes to environment and natural resource laws. The notification of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) 2020 has relaxed the approvals required by corporates to undertake construction projects. Similarly, the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015 increases the limits for mining. Moreover, it creates a new category of mining license for undertaking prospecting operations such as exploring or proving mineral deposits, followed by mining operations. Further, a Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 will remove the eligibility restriction prescribed in the Coal Mine (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 that only let companies engaged in a 'specified end-use' bid in the auction of Mining Concessions.

These amendments are likely to change the state of natural resources in the country. At the same time, adivasis, forest-dwellers, fishermen and other communities directly engaged with nature are becoming more aware about these laws. Tribals in certain areas have also begun to voice their voice against these legislations.

Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has actively worked with such communities and recently conducted a training programme where forest-dwellers were sensitised about various legal provisions relating to the environment.

Related:

No auctioning yet: Madras HC stays state tenders for mining in Dharmapuri
वनाधिकार क़ानून २००६ प्रशिक्षण भाग १
Adivasis protest Deocha-Pachami coal mining project
Is Adani enterprises illegally acquiring land for coal mining in Chhattisgarh?

Chhattisgarh: Ministry of Coal plan to acquire nearly 2000 hectares of protected forest land

Villagers, advocates and activists point out that the government should not undertake the project without the approval of local people.

Image Courtesy:hindustantimes.com

The Ministry of Coal plans to acquire 1,760 hectares of protected forested land in Sarguja, Chhattisgarh for mining, said a Daily Chhattisgarh report on October 15, 2020.

The report, which was the first public announcement of such a project, said the notification was issued on May 11 for the Hasdeo Arand area, one of the largest contiguous stretches of dense forest in central India spanning 170,000 hectares with 22 coal blocks. According to the Coal Ministry, the Kente extension coal block there has total coal resources estimated at 200 million tonnes.

Noting the resistance from the state government, Union Minister of Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi, accepted a proposal to exclude five coal blocks in the area – Morga -2, Morga (south), Madanpur (north), Shyang, and Fathehpur (east) – that were among 41 coal mines being auctioned.

The government plans to acquire the land under the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act provides land ownership to the centre within two years of notification provided it is satisfied that coal is extractable from whole or part of a tract of land.

However, convener of the Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan Alok Shukla, argued that there should be no mining in the area because it is proximity to dense forests. He said the state government should have notified Gram Sabhas to seek people’s opinion first because the decision “devastate the lives of local people.” This claim also goes in line with the rights given to indigenous people under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.

Similarly, environmental lawyer Sudiep Shrivastava said the decision went against the Supreme Court’s observation on September 30 that neither the centre nor the state has the right to mine an area if it falls in an eco-sensitive zone.

This decision is based on a plea by the Jharkhand government that challenged the Centre’s plan to auction coal blocks for commercial mining. Chief Justice of India S. A. Bobde had asked the Centre to file an affidavit on whether the coal blocks being auctioned are in eco-sensitive zones or not.

The Hasdeo Arand area, being the catchment area of River Hasdeo, has very high crown density. Moreover, the Coal Bearing Areas Act cannot grant land ownership to a state PSU which has a mine developer and operator (MDO) agreement with a private company, although attempts are being made to bring such an amendment.

In 2009, the Environment Ministry categorised Hasdeo Arand stretch as a “No-Go” zone for mining. However, it was opened to mining again because the policy wasn’t finalized. A senior official from the Ministry said that coal mining is impossible without environmental clearance and forest clearance. The specifics of this case would be known to Coal India Limited.

Much like the Coal Bearing Areas Act, the government has made many changes to environment and natural resource laws. The notification of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) 2020 has relaxed the approvals required by corporates to undertake construction projects. Similarly, the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015 increases the limits for mining. Moreover, it creates a new category of mining license for undertaking prospecting operations such as exploring or proving mineral deposits, followed by mining operations. Further, a Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 will remove the eligibility restriction prescribed in the Coal Mine (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 that only let companies engaged in a 'specified end-use' bid in the auction of Mining Concessions.

These amendments are likely to change the state of natural resources in the country. At the same time, adivasis, forest-dwellers, fishermen and other communities directly engaged with nature are becoming more aware about these laws. Tribals in certain areas have also begun to voice their voice against these legislations.

Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has actively worked with such communities and recently conducted a training programme where forest-dwellers were sensitised about various legal provisions relating to the environment.

Related:

No auctioning yet: Madras HC stays state tenders for mining in Dharmapuri
वनाधिकार क़ानून २००६ प्रशिक्षण भाग १
Adivasis protest Deocha-Pachami coal mining project
Is Adani enterprises illegally acquiring land for coal mining in Chhattisgarh?

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Flood-like situation in northern areas of Karnataka

Karnataka battles its third wave of floods; incessant rain and rising water-level in dams as northern districts slowly sink under the onslaught of water.

16 Oct 2020

Karnataka Flood

Karnataka's flood situation took a turn for the worse on October 15, 2020 as several northern parts of the state were inundated due to torrential rains and water released from major dams, said news reports.

Districts such as Yadgir, Raichur, Ballari, Bidar, Vijayapura, Bagalkot, Belagavi, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada, Gadag, Koppal, Haveri and Dharwad were worst affected in this third wave of floods in the past three months. Floods were reported at various places in Karnataka between August and September and both times, the Central team visited to inspect rain-related damage.

Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa is likely to hold a review meeting on October 16 with district administration officials of flood-affected areas.

The Karnataka Disaster Management Authority said that as many as 515 animals died while 4,782 people have been shifted to 36 relief camps opened by the district administrations. Authorities in Bidar and Vijayapura opened relief camps for flood-affected people.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team rescued people stranded at Haragadde, Karakalagadde in Raichur in the temporary island due to the sudden release of water from the dam across Krishna river due to the rising level.

 

 

The Karnataka State Natural Disaster Management Centre said that floodgates of all overflowing dams like Linganamakki, Supa, Varahi, Harangi, Hemavathi, Krishna Raja Sagar, Kabini, Bhadra, Tungabhadra, Ghataprabha, Malaprabha, Almatti and Narayanapura were opened. This led to such an onslaught of flooding in villages that islands were formed at different places.

Water from river Bhima wreaked havoc in Kalaburagi and Yadgir districts. The Central Water Commission warned that the river water at Deongaon Bridge in Afzalpur Taluk of Kalaburagi continues to rise "is expected to cross danger level by this evening."

 

 

Similarly, the river Krishna’s water level at Devasugur in Raichur district continues to rise at an alarming rate. The river in Yadgir district was expected to reach high flood level by October 14 afternoon.

The Commission also stated that the water-level of river Kagna at Malkhed in Kalaburagi has continued to rise at an alarming rate although it was previously reported to be receding.


Related:

K'taka farmers demand better policies and prices

Rain Havoc: Activists blame Maharashtra government for ignoring climate change report

India Floods, again: What Happened and Why

Flood-like situation in northern areas of Karnataka

Karnataka battles its third wave of floods; incessant rain and rising water-level in dams as northern districts slowly sink under the onslaught of water.

Karnataka Flood

Karnataka's flood situation took a turn for the worse on October 15, 2020 as several northern parts of the state were inundated due to torrential rains and water released from major dams, said news reports.

Districts such as Yadgir, Raichur, Ballari, Bidar, Vijayapura, Bagalkot, Belagavi, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada, Gadag, Koppal, Haveri and Dharwad were worst affected in this third wave of floods in the past three months. Floods were reported at various places in Karnataka between August and September and both times, the Central team visited to inspect rain-related damage.

Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa is likely to hold a review meeting on October 16 with district administration officials of flood-affected areas.

The Karnataka Disaster Management Authority said that as many as 515 animals died while 4,782 people have been shifted to 36 relief camps opened by the district administrations. Authorities in Bidar and Vijayapura opened relief camps for flood-affected people.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team rescued people stranded at Haragadde, Karakalagadde in Raichur in the temporary island due to the sudden release of water from the dam across Krishna river due to the rising level.

 

 

The Karnataka State Natural Disaster Management Centre said that floodgates of all overflowing dams like Linganamakki, Supa, Varahi, Harangi, Hemavathi, Krishna Raja Sagar, Kabini, Bhadra, Tungabhadra, Ghataprabha, Malaprabha, Almatti and Narayanapura were opened. This led to such an onslaught of flooding in villages that islands were formed at different places.

Water from river Bhima wreaked havoc in Kalaburagi and Yadgir districts. The Central Water Commission warned that the river water at Deongaon Bridge in Afzalpur Taluk of Kalaburagi continues to rise "is expected to cross danger level by this evening."

 

 

Similarly, the river Krishna’s water level at Devasugur in Raichur district continues to rise at an alarming rate. The river in Yadgir district was expected to reach high flood level by October 14 afternoon.

The Commission also stated that the water-level of river Kagna at Malkhed in Kalaburagi has continued to rise at an alarming rate although it was previously reported to be receding.


Related:

K'taka farmers demand better policies and prices

Rain Havoc: Activists blame Maharashtra government for ignoring climate change report

India Floods, again: What Happened and Why

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US authorities halt funding to WWF, WCS on allegations of atrocities

In the name of “conservation”, wildlife NGOs destroy the lives of indigenous tribals peoples says Survival International

05 Oct 2020

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

In what is being perceived as a “blow” to the conservation industry, the US government has barely three days ago, halted more than $12 million of funding to WWF, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and other conservation NGOs following serious findings on diversion of federal funds to anti-poaching guards implicated in serious human rights abuses in Africa. “The United States must not be party to violations of basic human rights,” a bipartisan committee wrote, citing a BuzzFeed News investigation.

It has been seriously alleged that several of these organizations are behind the creation and running of Protected Areas in Africa and Asia (including the notorious Messok Dja as reported in The Guardian) that have ruined the lives of thousands of tribal and local people said a report in Survival International.

The news was revealed, says Survivors International, in a leaked government document that also enumerates s how conservation organisations such as WWF failed to inform the US government that programs it was funding were responsible for serious human rights abuses in several countries.

This exposure is a serious setback to the conservation industry and meets a long standing demand by indigenous peoples and Survival International; the leaked document announces ground-breaking rules on how projects designed to protect nature can be funded, including:

- Conservation organisations will no longer receive federal funds unless they have the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples.

- The US will no longer fund eco-guards, law enforcement or “activities related to relocating communities, voluntarily or involuntarily.”

The memo, from the US Deputy Secretary of the Interior Kate MacGregor, is dated September 18, 2020 and contains numerous revelations including:

- US government funding was misused by conservation organisations for purposes prohibited under US laws. These include murder, severe torture, multiple rapes, and abuse.

- WWF and other organisations hid the knowledge of these abuses from the US authorities whose funds they were receiving.

- Conservation organisations refused to cooperate with federal investigators; withheld reports that documented the abuses; and were effectively auditing themselves.

The scope and extent of the abuses described in the report, involving a number of international conservation organisations, is illustrative of the scale of human rights violations in conservation projects and the abject failure of international funding bodies to monitor them.

Stephen Corry, Survival’s Director said today: “WWF and other big conservation NGOs have been well aware of their responsibility for gross human rights violations for decades. Survival first pointed them out over 30 years ago. Over the last half century I’ve personally confronted dozens of corporations and governments about their abuse of tribal peoples’ rights. None have been as duplicitous as these big conservation NGOs. These violations ultimately damage our world too. They destroy the planet’s best defenders. “Fortress conservation” must be stopped, and conservationists’ current demand to turn 30% of the Earth into Protected Areas must be rejected.”

Notes (credit” Survival International):

- This news comes days after the UN Summit on Biodiversity, where numerous heads of government supported WWF and WCS’s call to declare 30% of the Earth as Protected Areas by 2030. The revelations in the leaked report demonstrate how dangerous this would be.

- The new measures mean that the US government can no longer fund WCS-India’s project supporting the so-called “voluntary relocation” of indigenous communities. This also follows a letter from Jenu Kuruba villages threatened with eviction, calling on US authorities to stop “aiding and abetting the government and WCS’s plans to evict us from our forests,” has been sent to the US Fish and Wildlife Service more than 20 times, but is yet to receive a response.


Related:

WTI withdraws from FRA case in SC, Adivasis's stand vindicated

Sokalo Gond and Nivada Rana lead the campaign for Forest Rights in SC
Forest Rights case: SC directs states to file Compliance Affidavits
States claim procedural lapses in processing FRA land claims, ask for more time
No due process or formal communication to land claimants: MP govt
No procedure of eviction under FRA 2006: Chhattisgarh gov’t
Maha gov’t blames DLCs for “unlawfully” rejecting Adivasis’ claims
In Pictures: A journey that explains how Land Claims are filed under FRA 2006

US authorities halt funding to WWF, WCS on allegations of atrocities

In the name of “conservation”, wildlife NGOs destroy the lives of indigenous tribals peoples says Survival International

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

In what is being perceived as a “blow” to the conservation industry, the US government has barely three days ago, halted more than $12 million of funding to WWF, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and other conservation NGOs following serious findings on diversion of federal funds to anti-poaching guards implicated in serious human rights abuses in Africa. “The United States must not be party to violations of basic human rights,” a bipartisan committee wrote, citing a BuzzFeed News investigation.

It has been seriously alleged that several of these organizations are behind the creation and running of Protected Areas in Africa and Asia (including the notorious Messok Dja as reported in The Guardian) that have ruined the lives of thousands of tribal and local people said a report in Survival International.

The news was revealed, says Survivors International, in a leaked government document that also enumerates s how conservation organisations such as WWF failed to inform the US government that programs it was funding were responsible for serious human rights abuses in several countries.

This exposure is a serious setback to the conservation industry and meets a long standing demand by indigenous peoples and Survival International; the leaked document announces ground-breaking rules on how projects designed to protect nature can be funded, including:

- Conservation organisations will no longer receive federal funds unless they have the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples.

- The US will no longer fund eco-guards, law enforcement or “activities related to relocating communities, voluntarily or involuntarily.”

The memo, from the US Deputy Secretary of the Interior Kate MacGregor, is dated September 18, 2020 and contains numerous revelations including:

- US government funding was misused by conservation organisations for purposes prohibited under US laws. These include murder, severe torture, multiple rapes, and abuse.

- WWF and other organisations hid the knowledge of these abuses from the US authorities whose funds they were receiving.

- Conservation organisations refused to cooperate with federal investigators; withheld reports that documented the abuses; and were effectively auditing themselves.

The scope and extent of the abuses described in the report, involving a number of international conservation organisations, is illustrative of the scale of human rights violations in conservation projects and the abject failure of international funding bodies to monitor them.

Stephen Corry, Survival’s Director said today: “WWF and other big conservation NGOs have been well aware of their responsibility for gross human rights violations for decades. Survival first pointed them out over 30 years ago. Over the last half century I’ve personally confronted dozens of corporations and governments about their abuse of tribal peoples’ rights. None have been as duplicitous as these big conservation NGOs. These violations ultimately damage our world too. They destroy the planet’s best defenders. “Fortress conservation” must be stopped, and conservationists’ current demand to turn 30% of the Earth into Protected Areas must be rejected.”

Notes (credit” Survival International):

- This news comes days after the UN Summit on Biodiversity, where numerous heads of government supported WWF and WCS’s call to declare 30% of the Earth as Protected Areas by 2030. The revelations in the leaked report demonstrate how dangerous this would be.

- The new measures mean that the US government can no longer fund WCS-India’s project supporting the so-called “voluntary relocation” of indigenous communities. This also follows a letter from Jenu Kuruba villages threatened with eviction, calling on US authorities to stop “aiding and abetting the government and WCS’s plans to evict us from our forests,” has been sent to the US Fish and Wildlife Service more than 20 times, but is yet to receive a response.


Related:

WTI withdraws from FRA case in SC, Adivasis's stand vindicated

Sokalo Gond and Nivada Rana lead the campaign for Forest Rights in SC
Forest Rights case: SC directs states to file Compliance Affidavits
States claim procedural lapses in processing FRA land claims, ask for more time
No due process or formal communication to land claimants: MP govt
No procedure of eviction under FRA 2006: Chhattisgarh gov’t
Maha gov’t blames DLCs for “unlawfully” rejecting Adivasis’ claims
In Pictures: A journey that explains how Land Claims are filed under FRA 2006

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No auctioning yet: Madras HC stays state tenders for mining in Dharmapuri

Observing the plea of a former MP, Madras High Court stayed the state government’s plan to confirm auctioning of black granite mining rights

03 Oct 2020

madras HC

 

The Madras High Court restrained Tamil Nadu government from finalising tenders floated for mining of black granite in Dharmapuri district on September 29 upon receiving a plea that alleged a lack of environmental clearance, said a New Indian Express report.

Justices M. M. Sundresh and R. Hemalatha passed the interim order based on former DMK MP R. Thamaraiselvan’s petition which said the state had failed to assess the environmental impact of the project.

As per the court order, the state had not satisfied any of the several conditions imposed by the Central government for awarding a tender or mining clearances in the state.

The petitioner’s senior Counsel R. Viduthalai said that the state in calling for an auction without a prior clearance had gone against the guidelines issued by the Central Government under Section 20A of The Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act 1957.

However, Advocate General Vijay Narayan who spoke for the state said the government had followed all necessary rules for calling an auction and demanded that the petitioner’s claim of an “illegal” activity be dismissed. He went on to say that there is no rule that a tender can be awarded only after seeking environmental clearance.

According to Narayan, only the highest qualified bidder from the auction has to carry out the necessary processes such as obtaining environmental clearance.

Even so, judges said that the government should have undertaken a proper survey of the entire locality for holding mining activities before floating a tender. Moreover, they said the assessment should have been done so as to evaluate the necessity of the project along with the environmental impact. The court thus stayed the auction and adjourned the plea to October 8.

Related:

Acquittal of Babri accused, gang rape of UP Dalit woman are interlinked; have roots in the history

This judgment is far from justice: AIMPL Board

HCs have 5.1 million, lower courts have 34 million cases pending: Law Ministry

PIOs who don’t act as per RTI Act should be shown the doors: Madras HC

No auctioning yet: Madras HC stays state tenders for mining in Dharmapuri

Observing the plea of a former MP, Madras High Court stayed the state government’s plan to confirm auctioning of black granite mining rights

madras HC

 

The Madras High Court restrained Tamil Nadu government from finalising tenders floated for mining of black granite in Dharmapuri district on September 29 upon receiving a plea that alleged a lack of environmental clearance, said a New Indian Express report.

Justices M. M. Sundresh and R. Hemalatha passed the interim order based on former DMK MP R. Thamaraiselvan’s petition which said the state had failed to assess the environmental impact of the project.

As per the court order, the state had not satisfied any of the several conditions imposed by the Central government for awarding a tender or mining clearances in the state.

The petitioner’s senior Counsel R. Viduthalai said that the state in calling for an auction without a prior clearance had gone against the guidelines issued by the Central Government under Section 20A of The Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act 1957.

However, Advocate General Vijay Narayan who spoke for the state said the government had followed all necessary rules for calling an auction and demanded that the petitioner’s claim of an “illegal” activity be dismissed. He went on to say that there is no rule that a tender can be awarded only after seeking environmental clearance.

According to Narayan, only the highest qualified bidder from the auction has to carry out the necessary processes such as obtaining environmental clearance.

Even so, judges said that the government should have undertaken a proper survey of the entire locality for holding mining activities before floating a tender. Moreover, they said the assessment should have been done so as to evaluate the necessity of the project along with the environmental impact. The court thus stayed the auction and adjourned the plea to October 8.

Related:

Acquittal of Babri accused, gang rape of UP Dalit woman are interlinked; have roots in the history

This judgment is far from justice: AIMPL Board

HCs have 5.1 million, lower courts have 34 million cases pending: Law Ministry

PIOs who don’t act as per RTI Act should be shown the doors: Madras HC

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Expert committee to look into draft EIA recommendations

In view of the many suggestions received by the Centre regarding the draft EIA notification, it decided to create a separate committee to look into the suggested changes.

19 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:empowerias.com

The Minister of State (MoS) in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) on September 18 said that an expert committee will look into the suggestions for the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification.

“An Expert Committee under the chairmanship of Dr. S.R. Wate, former Director, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) has been constituted for review/deliberation on the comments and suggestions received on the draft Environmental Impact Assessment Notification,” said MoS Babul Supriyo.

Moreover, he said that the Kerala government recommended important changes to the policy such as the classifying minor mineral mining with lease area of 2 hectares to 100 hectares under the B-1 category. Moreover, mining with lease area of less than 2 hectares can be delegated to the District level Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (DEIAA) rather than State level Environmental Impact Assessment Authority, said the State. The Kerala government also asked for restoration of the 30-days-notice period for public hearing and retention of the DEIAA and the DEAC (District Expert Appraisal Committee.)

The draft notification has been criticised by many environment protection organisations and activists who claimed that it weakened the environmental regulations and laws in India. Most notably the draft has received criticism for its pro-corporate revisions. Three environment websites who were bringing this issue to the forefront were also blocked by the government in July.

Supriyo said that the draft EIA was published in the Official Gazette on April 11 for comments from the public until August 11. Several suggestions were received from stakeholders across the country including from State Government and Union Territory administrations.

Related:

40+ gas leaks, fires at refineries and oil wells in 4 years: Petroleum Ministry to LS
My worst nightmare is coming to school with an oxygen cylinder: Ridhima Pandey to PM
Karnataka HC extends stay on publication of draft EIA
Another explosion at Baghjan oil well injures three foreign experts

Expert committee to look into draft EIA recommendations

In view of the many suggestions received by the Centre regarding the draft EIA notification, it decided to create a separate committee to look into the suggested changes.

Image Courtesy:empowerias.com

The Minister of State (MoS) in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) on September 18 said that an expert committee will look into the suggestions for the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification.

“An Expert Committee under the chairmanship of Dr. S.R. Wate, former Director, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) has been constituted for review/deliberation on the comments and suggestions received on the draft Environmental Impact Assessment Notification,” said MoS Babul Supriyo.

Moreover, he said that the Kerala government recommended important changes to the policy such as the classifying minor mineral mining with lease area of 2 hectares to 100 hectares under the B-1 category. Moreover, mining with lease area of less than 2 hectares can be delegated to the District level Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (DEIAA) rather than State level Environmental Impact Assessment Authority, said the State. The Kerala government also asked for restoration of the 30-days-notice period for public hearing and retention of the DEIAA and the DEAC (District Expert Appraisal Committee.)

The draft notification has been criticised by many environment protection organisations and activists who claimed that it weakened the environmental regulations and laws in India. Most notably the draft has received criticism for its pro-corporate revisions. Three environment websites who were bringing this issue to the forefront were also blocked by the government in July.

Supriyo said that the draft EIA was published in the Official Gazette on April 11 for comments from the public until August 11. Several suggestions were received from stakeholders across the country including from State Government and Union Territory administrations.

Related:

40+ gas leaks, fires at refineries and oil wells in 4 years: Petroleum Ministry to LS
My worst nightmare is coming to school with an oxygen cylinder: Ridhima Pandey to PM
Karnataka HC extends stay on publication of draft EIA
Another explosion at Baghjan oil well injures three foreign experts

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40+ gas leaks, fires at refineries and oil wells in 4 years: Petroleum Ministry to LS

Admission made in a response to a Parliamentary question about the Baghjan oil well leakage and fire.

14 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:ft.com

On the first day of Monsoon Session, the Lok Sabha dealt with some pertinent questions put forth by Members of the Parliament (MP). The question hour has been cancelled, which means questions will not be asked and answered orally by Ministers but only written answers will be given for each day of the session.

A total of 7 MPs, including Supriya Sule and Dr. DNV Senthilkumar, asked Dharmendra Pradhan, the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas about the massive fire at Baghjan oilfield in Tinsukia, Assam at a plant operated by of Oil India Limited (OIL). The questions were pertaining to effect on human capital, plans for compensation, safeguard measures, number of incidents of such gas leakage in the country and details on inquiry set up to probe into the incident.

The Ministry replied stating that about 3,000 affected families around the oilfield were evacuated to rehabilitation camps and there have been no casualty of local residents, but OIL lost 3 employees. However, local residents claim that 5 people from a village named Natun Gaon, near the gas well site, allegedly succumbed to the toxic gas-induced poison, as reported by Assamese daily Asomiya Pratidin.

Further, 2,756 families have been identified for compensation as per a committee constituted by District Administration for assessing damage of property. Further, about Re 10 crores have been deposited with the administration to pay compensation of Rs. 30,000 to 3,645 affected families.

As per National Green Tribunal’s order for interim compensation, 12 families have been identified for compensation of Rs. 25 Lakh, 57 families have been identified for Rs. 10 lakh compensation and 561 families have been identified for compensation of Rs. 2.5 lakh depending on how much damage has been caused to their houses. However, there is not definite data on whether these amounts have reached the affected families, as the case should be. The Sentinel reported that as of July 19, 11 families had received compensation of Rs. 20 lakh each. 

On the number of incidents of gas leakage and fire break out, the Ministry stated that from 2017 until August 2020, there have been 24 such incidents at refineries and 18 such incidents at oil fields/wells.

The Ministry also stated that “in most incidents of gas leakages in any pipeline, the oil & gas wells are closed immediately to prevent fire/loss of oil and gas and after carrying out leakage rectification job, operations are normalised and production is restored.” However, on June 24, Assam Pollution Control Board withdrew the closure notice served upon OIL basis an affidavit submitted by OIL “subject to certain conditions”.

On May 27, there was a blowout at one of OIL’s gas-producing wells in Tinsukia, Assam. he well was producing 100,000 standard cubic metres per day (SCMD) of gas from a depth of 3,870 metres (4,234 yards) before the blowout. On June 9, a massive fire engulfed the oil well. In general, a blowout is the uncontrolled release of crude oil and/or natural gas from an oil well or gas well after pressure control systems have failed. An accidental spark during a blowout can lead to a catastrophic oil or gas fire.

The Assam government stated on September 2 during an Assembly Session, that the fire at the oil wells could possibly continue for 2 more months.

The Parliamentary answer may be read here.

Related:

Assam Pollution Control Board withdraws closure notice served to Oil India Limited
National Green Tribunal slaps Rs. 25 crore fine on Oil India Limited for gas well blowout
Another explosion at Baghjan oil well injures three foreign experts

40+ gas leaks, fires at refineries and oil wells in 4 years: Petroleum Ministry to LS

Admission made in a response to a Parliamentary question about the Baghjan oil well leakage and fire.

Image Courtesy:ft.com

On the first day of Monsoon Session, the Lok Sabha dealt with some pertinent questions put forth by Members of the Parliament (MP). The question hour has been cancelled, which means questions will not be asked and answered orally by Ministers but only written answers will be given for each day of the session.

A total of 7 MPs, including Supriya Sule and Dr. DNV Senthilkumar, asked Dharmendra Pradhan, the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas about the massive fire at Baghjan oilfield in Tinsukia, Assam at a plant operated by of Oil India Limited (OIL). The questions were pertaining to effect on human capital, plans for compensation, safeguard measures, number of incidents of such gas leakage in the country and details on inquiry set up to probe into the incident.

The Ministry replied stating that about 3,000 affected families around the oilfield were evacuated to rehabilitation camps and there have been no casualty of local residents, but OIL lost 3 employees. However, local residents claim that 5 people from a village named Natun Gaon, near the gas well site, allegedly succumbed to the toxic gas-induced poison, as reported by Assamese daily Asomiya Pratidin.

Further, 2,756 families have been identified for compensation as per a committee constituted by District Administration for assessing damage of property. Further, about Re 10 crores have been deposited with the administration to pay compensation of Rs. 30,000 to 3,645 affected families.

As per National Green Tribunal’s order for interim compensation, 12 families have been identified for compensation of Rs. 25 Lakh, 57 families have been identified for Rs. 10 lakh compensation and 561 families have been identified for compensation of Rs. 2.5 lakh depending on how much damage has been caused to their houses. However, there is not definite data on whether these amounts have reached the affected families, as the case should be. The Sentinel reported that as of July 19, 11 families had received compensation of Rs. 20 lakh each. 

On the number of incidents of gas leakage and fire break out, the Ministry stated that from 2017 until August 2020, there have been 24 such incidents at refineries and 18 such incidents at oil fields/wells.

The Ministry also stated that “in most incidents of gas leakages in any pipeline, the oil & gas wells are closed immediately to prevent fire/loss of oil and gas and after carrying out leakage rectification job, operations are normalised and production is restored.” However, on June 24, Assam Pollution Control Board withdrew the closure notice served upon OIL basis an affidavit submitted by OIL “subject to certain conditions”.

On May 27, there was a blowout at one of OIL’s gas-producing wells in Tinsukia, Assam. he well was producing 100,000 standard cubic metres per day (SCMD) of gas from a depth of 3,870 metres (4,234 yards) before the blowout. On June 9, a massive fire engulfed the oil well. In general, a blowout is the uncontrolled release of crude oil and/or natural gas from an oil well or gas well after pressure control systems have failed. An accidental spark during a blowout can lead to a catastrophic oil or gas fire.

The Assam government stated on September 2 during an Assembly Session, that the fire at the oil wells could possibly continue for 2 more months.

The Parliamentary answer may be read here.

Related:

Assam Pollution Control Board withdraws closure notice served to Oil India Limited
National Green Tribunal slaps Rs. 25 crore fine on Oil India Limited for gas well blowout
Another explosion at Baghjan oil well injures three foreign experts

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Adivasis protest Deocha-Pachami coal mining project

Eager not to be removed from homeland, nearly a thousand Adivasis came together at Mohammad Bazar on Wednesday

11 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:telegraphindia.com

In a bid to save their homeland, around 1,000 Adivasis held a protest against the Deocha-Pachami coal mining project that could result in the destruction of tribal settlements. The protest was held in front of Mohammad Bazar police station for nearly three hours on September 9, 2020, Telegraph India on Thursday.

The protest was led by Birbhum Adivasi Gaonta, a platform of tribal people opposing the proposed coal mine. 40 other areas across India have been proposed for coal mining and have met similar opposition from locals who fear loss of livelihood and land. However, both the Central government and the West Bengal government are keen on starting mining by early next year.

One of the protestors present on Wednesday said that his people do not wish to be evicted from their land at any cost. He said Adivasis don’t want a coal mine in the area as their livelihood is already facing a crisis because of pre-existing stone mines and crushers.

District officials assure that affected families will receive appropriate compensations but fail to gain the trust of tribal folk.

On July 9 2020, government officials including Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha had held a meeting with stakeholders and landowners expressing the government’s desire to start mining soon. The meeting also claimed to address the concerns of locals. There, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said “all queries by relevant stakeholders have been addressed” and that the State government intends to create a “model for India” by effectively executing the Deocha-Pachima coal mine project.

 

 

However, according to Convener of the Birbhum Adivasi Gaonta, Sunil Soren, the original stakeholders were not allowed to take part in the July 9 meeting. He said local Trinamool Congress leaders produced some people to discuss the issue of rehabilitation. Soren emphasised that the locals don’t support setting up of the coal mine at any cost.

The group had submitted a deputation to the police that detailed their demands including an end to police atrocities and the illegal stone crushers and mines.

Meanwhile, the government is deeply invested in the Deocha-Pachami coal block in Birbhum’s Mohammedbazar. The coal block is spread over 11,222 acres with an estimated coal reserve of around 2.2 billion tonnes. Government figures claim that the project can generate jobs for at least 1.5 lakh people and has the potential to boost economic growth for the entire area of south Bengal.

District officials, however, said the government was planning to start the work of the coal mine from around 40 acres of land vested with it.

Related:

Unmindful mining will bring permanent pandemic
NAPM demands that Centre immediately revoke the commercial auction of 41 coal blocks
Commercial Mining, not a boon but a curse: Jharkhand & Central India

Adivasis protest Deocha-Pachami coal mining project

Eager not to be removed from homeland, nearly a thousand Adivasis came together at Mohammad Bazar on Wednesday

Image Courtesy:telegraphindia.com

In a bid to save their homeland, around 1,000 Adivasis held a protest against the Deocha-Pachami coal mining project that could result in the destruction of tribal settlements. The protest was held in front of Mohammad Bazar police station for nearly three hours on September 9, 2020, Telegraph India on Thursday.

The protest was led by Birbhum Adivasi Gaonta, a platform of tribal people opposing the proposed coal mine. 40 other areas across India have been proposed for coal mining and have met similar opposition from locals who fear loss of livelihood and land. However, both the Central government and the West Bengal government are keen on starting mining by early next year.

One of the protestors present on Wednesday said that his people do not wish to be evicted from their land at any cost. He said Adivasis don’t want a coal mine in the area as their livelihood is already facing a crisis because of pre-existing stone mines and crushers.

District officials assure that affected families will receive appropriate compensations but fail to gain the trust of tribal folk.

On July 9 2020, government officials including Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha had held a meeting with stakeholders and landowners expressing the government’s desire to start mining soon. The meeting also claimed to address the concerns of locals. There, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said “all queries by relevant stakeholders have been addressed” and that the State government intends to create a “model for India” by effectively executing the Deocha-Pachima coal mine project.

 

 

However, according to Convener of the Birbhum Adivasi Gaonta, Sunil Soren, the original stakeholders were not allowed to take part in the July 9 meeting. He said local Trinamool Congress leaders produced some people to discuss the issue of rehabilitation. Soren emphasised that the locals don’t support setting up of the coal mine at any cost.

The group had submitted a deputation to the police that detailed their demands including an end to police atrocities and the illegal stone crushers and mines.

Meanwhile, the government is deeply invested in the Deocha-Pachami coal block in Birbhum’s Mohammedbazar. The coal block is spread over 11,222 acres with an estimated coal reserve of around 2.2 billion tonnes. Government figures claim that the project can generate jobs for at least 1.5 lakh people and has the potential to boost economic growth for the entire area of south Bengal.

District officials, however, said the government was planning to start the work of the coal mine from around 40 acres of land vested with it.

Related:

Unmindful mining will bring permanent pandemic
NAPM demands that Centre immediately revoke the commercial auction of 41 coal blocks
Commercial Mining, not a boon but a curse: Jharkhand & Central India

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K’taka HC extends stay on publication of draft EIA

The stay that was previously granted in August has been extended until further orders

07 Sep 2020

The Karnataka has extended the stay it has granted previously, on the publication of the final Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) 2020 by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, until further orders. The interim order was extended as the Centre failed to file its responses at the hearing today.

On August 5, the bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Ashok Kinagi had stayed the publication, only 6 days before the final submission of objections to the draft EIA, until September 7, while also extending the date for submission of objections until August 11. The direction was given in a petition filed by a trust called United Conservation movement stating that the draft EIA notification was not given sufficient publicity.

At the previous hearing, the bench had observed, “Prima facie it appears to us that the right of citizens to file objection has been taken away”.

The court had even expressed its disappointment over the stand taken by the Centre that the notification be published in the official gazette only in Hindi and English. The court had previously observed, “The approach of the respondents suggests that perhaps those who don’t understand Hindi and English language need not file comments or objections to the notification.”

The draft EIA 2020 amends the EIA 2006 but it proposes a legal regime that could potentially increase the environmental risks to forest dwellers, endangered species and the overall ecosystem. It has been widely criticized by environmental and civil rights groups for weakening environmental regulations by giving post facto clearance and doing away with important processes like public consultations.

Related:

Draft EIA: K’taka HC extends date for filing objections, restrains Centre from releasing final notification
My worst nightmare is coming to school with an oxygen cylinder: Ridhima Pandey to PM
Is Adani enterprises illegally acquiring land for coal mining in Chhattisgarh?

 

K’taka HC extends stay on publication of draft EIA

The stay that was previously granted in August has been extended until further orders

The Karnataka has extended the stay it has granted previously, on the publication of the final Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) 2020 by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, until further orders. The interim order was extended as the Centre failed to file its responses at the hearing today.

On August 5, the bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Ashok Kinagi had stayed the publication, only 6 days before the final submission of objections to the draft EIA, until September 7, while also extending the date for submission of objections until August 11. The direction was given in a petition filed by a trust called United Conservation movement stating that the draft EIA notification was not given sufficient publicity.

At the previous hearing, the bench had observed, “Prima facie it appears to us that the right of citizens to file objection has been taken away”.

The court had even expressed its disappointment over the stand taken by the Centre that the notification be published in the official gazette only in Hindi and English. The court had previously observed, “The approach of the respondents suggests that perhaps those who don’t understand Hindi and English language need not file comments or objections to the notification.”

The draft EIA 2020 amends the EIA 2006 but it proposes a legal regime that could potentially increase the environmental risks to forest dwellers, endangered species and the overall ecosystem. It has been widely criticized by environmental and civil rights groups for weakening environmental regulations by giving post facto clearance and doing away with important processes like public consultations.

Related:

Draft EIA: K’taka HC extends date for filing objections, restrains Centre from releasing final notification
My worst nightmare is coming to school with an oxygen cylinder: Ridhima Pandey to PM
Is Adani enterprises illegally acquiring land for coal mining in Chhattisgarh?

 

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My worst nightmare is coming to school with an oxygen cylinder: Ridhima Pandey to PM

The teenage environmental activist from Uttarakhand has written to Prime Minister to help children have clean air to breathe

07 Sep 2020

Enviroment

Twelve-year-old Ridhima Pandey was hailed as one of the youngest environmental activists, when in 2019 she represented India in the protest against the lax attitude of governments towards climate change at the United Nations, along with Greta Thunberg. Ridhima is said to have been moved by the devastation that resulted during the Kedarnath floods of 2013. The floods, like most environmental disasters, was yet another warning of what climate change can do. 

Ridhima has now penned a comprehensive letter, seeking the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, to ensure that children do not have to face an environmental crisis in the future. Ridhima, who lives in Uttarakhand, wrote and shared her letter to the PM on social media. She has asked the PM to “kindly help us by making sure that an oxygen cylinder doesn’t become an essential part of the life of children, which we have to carry on our shoulders everywhere in the future."

"I am here because I want all the global leaders to do something to stop climate change because if it's not going to be stopped it's going to harm our future," she had said at the Climate Action Summit, adding "So, if we want to stop global warming we have to do something now." On the International Day for Clean Air and Blue Skies, Ridhima Pandey has once again brought the focus back in her letter to the PM, demanding clean air for all.

 

 

She has highlighted that “air pollution in many densely populated cities like Delhi, Varanasi, Agra, Mumbai, Chennai and others is very high, making it hazardous for the people living there, causing severe health issues.”

She states that she has also “read about many research studies suggesting a link between air pollution and Covid 19 related incidences and mortalities,” and found it “very worrying.”

“Every year, in many parts of India, the air becomes much polluted and it becomes very difficult to breathe after October. I worry that if a 12-year-old like me finds it hard to breathe, what it must be like for children younger to me living in cities like Delhi and others. The air pollution in Delhi becomes so hazardous that people are not even able to breathe properly - you feel choked and suffocated. I am saying this because I witnessed this situation last year in Delhi on Children's Day,” says Ridhima.

She asserts that she is “worried that if nothing is done about this problem soon, then in the coming years we would have to carry an oxygen cylinder with us to breathe clean air and survive. How would the common man afford this? Once our teacher asked us about our worst nightmare. I told her that mine was coming to school with an oxygen cylinder because the air was becoming so polluted. This nightmare is still my biggest worry because polluted air is one of the biggest problems in our country today.”

She reminded the Prime Minister that he had “accepted Climate Change as a reality,” and thus appealed to him “‘International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies’ on behalf of all the children of India, I would like to make a request to you. Please think about our future.”

This is her letter to the PM:
 

 


According to the India Today report, Ridhima had moved with her family from Nainital to Haridwar six years ago, and discovered a different set of challenges there such as those threatening the river Ganga in Haridwar. In 2017, she filed a case against the Indian government at the National Green Tribunal for failing to take action against climate change.

In 2019 at the UN she was a part of the group of 16 children from across the world who presented a complaint to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. As reported by India Today, and other news media globally, it was “an eye-opener for the world” and brought back discussions on climate change. According to an IndiaSpend report, at the United Nations (UN) emergency climate summit, 16 children, including Ridhima Pandey, said they would petition the UN against five big carbon polluters in the world--Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey--for violating their rights as children by failing to adequately reduce emissions.

“It is our planet, and it is our duty to save it,” she says in this video message.

 

 

 

Related:

Youth Emerge Climate Leaders, Countries–Including India–Rehash Old Plans

Draft EIA: K’taka HC extends date for filing objections, restrains Centre from releasing 

Vadodara’s industries continue to pollute river and groundwater with impunity

The environmental impact of the Sardar Sarovar Dam

Vadodara’s industries continue to pollute river and groundwater with impunity

My worst nightmare is coming to school with an oxygen cylinder: Ridhima Pandey to PM

The teenage environmental activist from Uttarakhand has written to Prime Minister to help children have clean air to breathe

Enviroment

Twelve-year-old Ridhima Pandey was hailed as one of the youngest environmental activists, when in 2019 she represented India in the protest against the lax attitude of governments towards climate change at the United Nations, along with Greta Thunberg. Ridhima is said to have been moved by the devastation that resulted during the Kedarnath floods of 2013. The floods, like most environmental disasters, was yet another warning of what climate change can do. 

Ridhima has now penned a comprehensive letter, seeking the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, to ensure that children do not have to face an environmental crisis in the future. Ridhima, who lives in Uttarakhand, wrote and shared her letter to the PM on social media. She has asked the PM to “kindly help us by making sure that an oxygen cylinder doesn’t become an essential part of the life of children, which we have to carry on our shoulders everywhere in the future."

"I am here because I want all the global leaders to do something to stop climate change because if it's not going to be stopped it's going to harm our future," she had said at the Climate Action Summit, adding "So, if we want to stop global warming we have to do something now." On the International Day for Clean Air and Blue Skies, Ridhima Pandey has once again brought the focus back in her letter to the PM, demanding clean air for all.

 

 

She has highlighted that “air pollution in many densely populated cities like Delhi, Varanasi, Agra, Mumbai, Chennai and others is very high, making it hazardous for the people living there, causing severe health issues.”

She states that she has also “read about many research studies suggesting a link between air pollution and Covid 19 related incidences and mortalities,” and found it “very worrying.”

“Every year, in many parts of India, the air becomes much polluted and it becomes very difficult to breathe after October. I worry that if a 12-year-old like me finds it hard to breathe, what it must be like for children younger to me living in cities like Delhi and others. The air pollution in Delhi becomes so hazardous that people are not even able to breathe properly - you feel choked and suffocated. I am saying this because I witnessed this situation last year in Delhi on Children's Day,” says Ridhima.

She asserts that she is “worried that if nothing is done about this problem soon, then in the coming years we would have to carry an oxygen cylinder with us to breathe clean air and survive. How would the common man afford this? Once our teacher asked us about our worst nightmare. I told her that mine was coming to school with an oxygen cylinder because the air was becoming so polluted. This nightmare is still my biggest worry because polluted air is one of the biggest problems in our country today.”

She reminded the Prime Minister that he had “accepted Climate Change as a reality,” and thus appealed to him “‘International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies’ on behalf of all the children of India, I would like to make a request to you. Please think about our future.”

This is her letter to the PM:
 

 


According to the India Today report, Ridhima had moved with her family from Nainital to Haridwar six years ago, and discovered a different set of challenges there such as those threatening the river Ganga in Haridwar. In 2017, she filed a case against the Indian government at the National Green Tribunal for failing to take action against climate change.

In 2019 at the UN she was a part of the group of 16 children from across the world who presented a complaint to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. As reported by India Today, and other news media globally, it was “an eye-opener for the world” and brought back discussions on climate change. According to an IndiaSpend report, at the United Nations (UN) emergency climate summit, 16 children, including Ridhima Pandey, said they would petition the UN against five big carbon polluters in the world--Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey--for violating their rights as children by failing to adequately reduce emissions.

“It is our planet, and it is our duty to save it,” she says in this video message.

 

 

 

Related:

Youth Emerge Climate Leaders, Countries–Including India–Rehash Old Plans

Draft EIA: K’taka HC extends date for filing objections, restrains Centre from releasing 

Vadodara’s industries continue to pollute river and groundwater with impunity

The environmental impact of the Sardar Sarovar Dam

Vadodara’s industries continue to pollute river and groundwater with impunity

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Is Adani enterprises illegally acquiring land for coal mining in Chhattisgarh?

Sarguja district collector deployed a team which reported that Adani Enterprises acquired land allotted to farmers under the Forest Rights Act

28 Aug 2020

Adani
 

Sarguja district administration, Chhattisgarh has reportedly revealed that Adani Enterprises has illegally acquired land that belonged to 32 farmers under the Forest Rights Act, 2006. The company has acquired land in Udaipur tehsil, Ghatbarra village and the Collector is probing the matter. This village is one of the villages around Parsa East Kete Basan coal block. 

Two of these coal mines are associated with Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd of which Adani Enterprises is the Mine Developer and Operator (MDO). The first coal mine has been operational since 2013 and mining has begun there. The other coal mine is supposed to begin in the year 2028 and for this purpose itself, Adani Enterprises seems to be illegally acquiring lands around Ghatbara and Paras villages from farmers by making them sign affidavits and handing out cheques to them in an unlawful manner of land acquisition, in complete disregard and contravention of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.

The matter was first reported on August 25 in Patrika, a regional newspaper in Chhattisgarh. Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan and Chhattisgarh Van Adhikar Manch wrote complaints to the Chief Minister about this matter. The Chief Ministers Secretariat then informed Sarguja Collector Sanjeev Kumar Jha who deployed a team to look into the matter. A team was constituted comprising Assistant Commissioner of Tribal Welfare, JR Nagvanshi, Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) Revenue, Pradeep Sahu and SDO Forests SN Mishra. In the report submitted by the team, it is allegedly mentioned that the farmers have been allocated land in Ghabara under the Forest Rights Act, 2006. 

Even if the land is to be acquired, it can only be lawfully done after the farmers are given appropriate compensation for it and rehabilitated and resettled as per the law. But the due process of law has not been followed here. As per the news report in Patrika, around 15 farmers were made to sign on an affidavit and were handed over a cheque for the land. Until now 32 such instances have come forth.

That is not all, it has been reported by Hindustan Times in February 2019, that the forest land which has been granted preliminary forest clearance by The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Union environment ministry for the Parsa coal mine, was declared in 2009 as a “no-go” area because of its rich forest cover.

In March 2020, a notice was issued to NCL a joint venture company between government-owned National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) and Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation (CMDC) for not commencing work in an iron ore mine in Dakshin Bastar, Dantewada. Adani Enterprises is the MDO of this mine. What is pertinent to note here is that the forest clearance given for the mine is also being reconsidered by the forest department of the state after the government inquiry which found the gram sabha consent null and void, reported The Wire.


Related:

Unmindful mining will bring permanent pandemic

Kerala against Adani takeover of Trivandrum International Airport

Raging inferno Jharia treads on hot coals as Centre opens up mining for private sector

Chhattisgarh lawyer allegedly assaulted by cops, WCD officials

 

Is Adani enterprises illegally acquiring land for coal mining in Chhattisgarh?

Sarguja district collector deployed a team which reported that Adani Enterprises acquired land allotted to farmers under the Forest Rights Act

Adani
 

Sarguja district administration, Chhattisgarh has reportedly revealed that Adani Enterprises has illegally acquired land that belonged to 32 farmers under the Forest Rights Act, 2006. The company has acquired land in Udaipur tehsil, Ghatbarra village and the Collector is probing the matter. This village is one of the villages around Parsa East Kete Basan coal block. 

Two of these coal mines are associated with Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd of which Adani Enterprises is the Mine Developer and Operator (MDO). The first coal mine has been operational since 2013 and mining has begun there. The other coal mine is supposed to begin in the year 2028 and for this purpose itself, Adani Enterprises seems to be illegally acquiring lands around Ghatbara and Paras villages from farmers by making them sign affidavits and handing out cheques to them in an unlawful manner of land acquisition, in complete disregard and contravention of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.

The matter was first reported on August 25 in Patrika, a regional newspaper in Chhattisgarh. Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan and Chhattisgarh Van Adhikar Manch wrote complaints to the Chief Minister about this matter. The Chief Ministers Secretariat then informed Sarguja Collector Sanjeev Kumar Jha who deployed a team to look into the matter. A team was constituted comprising Assistant Commissioner of Tribal Welfare, JR Nagvanshi, Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) Revenue, Pradeep Sahu and SDO Forests SN Mishra. In the report submitted by the team, it is allegedly mentioned that the farmers have been allocated land in Ghabara under the Forest Rights Act, 2006. 

Even if the land is to be acquired, it can only be lawfully done after the farmers are given appropriate compensation for it and rehabilitated and resettled as per the law. But the due process of law has not been followed here. As per the news report in Patrika, around 15 farmers were made to sign on an affidavit and were handed over a cheque for the land. Until now 32 such instances have come forth.

That is not all, it has been reported by Hindustan Times in February 2019, that the forest land which has been granted preliminary forest clearance by The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Union environment ministry for the Parsa coal mine, was declared in 2009 as a “no-go” area because of its rich forest cover.

In March 2020, a notice was issued to NCL a joint venture company between government-owned National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) and Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation (CMDC) for not commencing work in an iron ore mine in Dakshin Bastar, Dantewada. Adani Enterprises is the MDO of this mine. What is pertinent to note here is that the forest clearance given for the mine is also being reconsidered by the forest department of the state after the government inquiry which found the gram sabha consent null and void, reported The Wire.


Related:

Unmindful mining will bring permanent pandemic

Kerala against Adani takeover of Trivandrum International Airport

Raging inferno Jharia treads on hot coals as Centre opens up mining for private sector

Chhattisgarh lawyer allegedly assaulted by cops, WCD officials

 

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