MS. BHUSAN STEEL & POWER LTD

Here in western part of Orissa a Delhi based steel company called Bhusan Steel Company is going to operate its coal mines in five villages of Jharpalam G.P. of Hemgir Block of Sundargarh district, in the first phase neglecting and ignoring the real values of affected areas. Sundargarh is a scheduled area and it is declared as tribal sub-plan area. The people are mainly dependent on agriculture, forest and wage earning.

From company sources it came to know that the company is going to acquire 3000 acres of land in first phase (Mainly agriculture and 150 acres Village forest) where people from primitive tribe (Khadia) are living. The company has also engaged some middle main to motivate the people in wrong way to sell their land to company for final acquisition.

In the first phase of mining operation the company will acquire 5 villages namely Jharpalam, Jamkani, Mendra, Girishima and Bijahandi. The population of these areas is 3129 out is which 1605 are ST and 399 are SC.

Impact Assessment

If the proposed mines will be set up, the following will be the impacts which affect environment and livelihood of the people.

  • 2500 acres of land would be turned into mines.
  • 10,000 people will be directly affected where as only 667 nos of persons will be employed as unskilled labourers, skilled technicians, office personnel and field supervisors.
  • Although it is estimated that 732 household will be displaced and lose their agricultural land (which is their prime livelihood sources in the first phase of the operation), the company mentions that only 429 families will be rehabilitated.
  • Around 72,000 people in 103 villages are living within 10 K.M. radius of the centre of the proposed coal mine.
  • Out of the above total population, 38,160 nos. of labourers are living in these villages. Where as only 500 persons may be employed as unskilled labourers.
  • Everyday 194 cubic mtr of water will be extracted by bore wells. And it is also proposed that 30 K.M. railway line (From Kanika railway station) will be extended upto pit head of the coal mine which will again destroy forest area.
  • 10 villages will be polluted and cause health hazards
  • 150 acres of community forest land will be acquired by the company.
  • The CPR such as ideal pond-6 nos., natural spring-6 nos., dug well(Govt. & Private)-44 nos., Gochar land – 60 acres, NTFP godown -1nos., MIP-2 nos., will be destroyed. As a result of this the livelihood of the poor people will be endangered and there is no hope for compensating this CPR. In addition to this many more other CPR like tube well, school, community centre would also be ruined and affect health and education.
  • The villagers depend six months in a year on forest produce for their livelihood. Due to the mining operation income amounting to 13 lakh (10 lakh from mahua flower, 1 lakhs from KL and 2 lakhs from Char) will also be destroyed.
  • About 160 nos of land less household will face the most adverse condition as they are solely depend on forest and wage earning.
  • Income for livelihood from Dairy, goatery & Poultry amounting Rs.70, 000/- will also be damaged.
  • The cultivated land used in these 5 villages for paddy and pulse production is 500 hact. And 134 hact. respectively. There are no such alternatives for compensating the food production.
  • 14 types of extinguishing wild animals will be extinguished totally from this area which is a severe threat to the bio-diversity.
  • Violation of the provisions of PESA Act., Anti People Steps taken by the MS. Bhusan Ltd. and Administration
  • v People were being instigated by the touters for selling their land. Some rich and self centred people sold their land and instigated the other poor tribal for the same.
  • v The Bhusan Coal Pvt. Ltd. violating the PESA act openly with the help of administration.
  • v Any activity in that area related to mining should be started with due permission from Palli Sabha/Gram Sabha but Bhusan Company already completed area survey without the permission from Gram Sabha.
  • v For land acquisition a Gram Sabha meeting was scheduled on 7th Mach 2006. The notice was served before 15 days from the commencement of the meeting but it was served before 10 days where the district magistrate and collector was proposed to preside the meeting which is another instances of violation of PESA act.
  • v After the speaking order of collector, notice was served for land acquisition under LAA Sec.4 (1). The people reacted that in spite of their heavy oppose on the gram sabha, the notice has been served. In this regard they met the collector for queries. But unfortunately, this time also the collector did not listen to the people.

People’s Struggle for safeguarding their life, livelihood and environment

  • Meetings in different villages held with the active initiatives of People and volunteers of the Panchayat and public opinion went against the establishment of mines
  • A Resolution has been passed in Gram Sabha on 5th jan 06 that the company will not do any activity without prior discussion and consent of the people but this was violated several times.
  • In the Gram Sabha held on 7th March 06 majorities of the people voted against the establishment of mines and passed not to give land to Bhusan Company. The collector assured the Gram Sabha members to send the actual facts to the government. After two days the people applied for the copy of and found that the resolution written in the register was totally opposite with the actual discussion made on the Meeting. Even some of the signatures were also found false which were identified by the villager.
  • An emergency Palli Sabha on 22nd March 2006 and passed resolution to reject the Gram Sabha of 7th March and also decided to conduct another special Gram Sabha on 26th March to discuss regarding the Bhusan Mines. The Sarpanch of Jharpalam G.P. Mr. Dubraj Kishan was also present in the Palli Sabha meeting and agreed with the people and decided to conduct the meeting on the date proposed by the people.
  • Some people met the Collector to protest against this unlawful activity and accordingly met the Collector on 25th March 06 but the collector did not listen anything. Rather she gave speaking order in favour of Bhusan for land acquisition.
  • Therefore, the people lodged a PIL against the Company which is still going on.
  • Later on the people of those villages decided to make a curfew. Hence from April onwards, they are not discussing with any govt. officials and company agents regarding the coal mines.
  • On 26th March people from all the villages came to the Gram Sabha. At the beginning of the meeting some company supporters tried to betray the meeting and make the people fearful, therefore many people left the place due to fear. At that moment the Sarpancha and Executive Officer left that place with the resolution resister. The people further nominated the Ward Member of Jamkani village to preside the meeting and passed resolution to reject the Gram Sabha of 7th March and it was noted in paper.

Present Status

  • The company administration has already got the lease contract from coal India for public hearing.
  • Without prior permission from the community, the company has started the survey work earlier.
  • Jointly with forest deptt. the company administration trying to motivate the villagers to cut the village forest.
  • The villagers of the GP have formed a committee to fight against the injustice of the company.
  • The company engaged village touters to purchase agricultural land from the villagers in low price and succeeded to purchase 420 acres of private land from the poor tribal people.
  • In spite of strong opposition by large nos. of people, the collector, Sundargarh has given speaking order in favour of Ms. Bhusan for land acquisition for the proposed coal mines.
  • People are not at all ready to give their land. They have declared curfew and not discussing with any govt. official and company persons regarding coal mining.
  • Under RTI Act. Certain information has been asked regarding the forest, trees, but the DFO tried to misleading the information. Therefore the information seeker appealed before state information commission under Sec. 18 (a) and honourable state information commission has fixed 7th Sept. for hearing.
  • A PIL has been filed by people and the case is pending in honourable High Court, Cuttack.
  • Notice under Sec. 4 (1) of LAA has already been served in the proposed villages.
  • On 27th August a Public Hearing has been scheduled for Environmental Impact Assessment of the proposed coal mines. There is apprehension that the company may use any means to take the decision in his favour.
  • In this regard the people of the Jharpalam G.P. needs resource support for people’s mobilization on the Public Hearing, otherwise their long struggle may go in vain.
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Posted on November 4, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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