BUDGET 2018-19 FROM POINT OF VIEW OF SCHEDULED CASTES (SCs) and SCHEDULED TRIBES (STs) – P S Krishnan, IAS (retd)
[My comments are only about the aspects of the Budget as they directly concern SCs and STs and do not deal with other aspects of the Budget – PS Krishnan]
History of neglect and casualness in respect of SCs and STs over the last many years across different Governments continues in the Budget 2018-19.
The goal of liberating the SCs and STs from their basic vulnerabilities has not been kept in view in this Budget as in the previous Budgets of different Governments.
The goal of Equality, which is the Constitutional right of SCs and STs, i.e., enabling SCs and STs to reach the level of Equality, i.e., Equality with Socially Advanced Castes (SACs), i.e, non-SC, non-ST, non-SEdBC castes (NSCTBCs) in all parameters of development, welfare and life, has been neglected in this Budget as in the past Budgets across different Governments; though it is the Constitutionally-mandated duty of the State to promote Equality as above.
Schemes of importance for the liberation of SCs and STs from their vulnerabilities such as a massive national programme of distribution of Government and Bhoodan lands to every rural SC family and, along with them, to ST and other rural landless agricultural labour families, through a centrally-funded Task Force for every Tehsil/Taluq/Mandal of the country with Group Minor Irrigation for all lands of the SCs and STs, have not found place in this Budget also, despite its centrality for SCs and STs and despite its manifold and far-reaching cascading beneficial effects for the countrys economy and society which I have repeatedly pointed out to successive Governments including the present Government, and despite the President of Indias solemn commitment to the nation in his Address to the joint session of the Parliament in 2004.
The provision of Ekalavya school in every Block where tribals constitute majority population and which have not less than 20,000 tribal residents is welcome for the educational advancement of STs the outlay for this is not found in the Budget and needs to be provided. But the provision of a scheme of residential schools, one for SC boys and one for SC girls, in each Block of the country, as recommended by the Group of Ministers on Dalit Affairs under the Chairmanship of Shri Pranab Mukherjee in 2008, has been again ignored.
Other schemes for educational equalization of SCs and STs ignored.
Arrears of Post-Matric Scholarships to the tune of Rs. 11000 Crores, as I have pointed out to the Finance Minister vide my e-letter to him dated 9.9.2016 and in my pre-Budget letter to the Finance Minister dated 31.12.2017, has not been provided for either in the RE 2017-18 or in the BE 2018-19.
Such accumulation of arrears is contrary to the basic feature of this scheme, that is open-ended, which means whatever amounts are required for any number of SC and ST Post-Matric students shall be released in time and formalized in the subsequent RE. Breach of this condition and accumulation of arrears has resulted in a large number of SC and ST students being forced out of the institutions for non-payment of fees.
Measures for prevention of loss of tribal lands and restoration to STs of lands previously lost continue to be missing.
Gross deficit continues in the provision of adequate allocations, not less than the population-proportion of SCs and STs, for SCP and TsP, essential for securing the objectives mentioned above and schemes such as those mentioned above.
Correct methodology of provision of SCP/allocations for SCs and TsP/allocations for STs continues to be evaded, viz., setting apart the share of SCs and STs as an untied corpus and undertaking within this corpus such schemes which will enable the SCs, STs to reach the level of Equality as explained above and be liberated from their basic vulnerabilities.
Out of the total Budgetary outlay for 2018-19, the outlay for Central Sector Schemes and Centrally Sponsored Schemes is Rs 1014450.79 Crores. Out of this,
the outlay for SCP/allocations for welfare of SCs at not less than 16.6% ought to be not leas than Rs 168398.83 crores, but only Rs 56618.50 crores (5.58% instead of 16.6%) has been provided; and
the outlay for TsP/allocations for welfare of STs at not less than 8.6% ought to be not less than Rs 87247.77 crores, but only Rs 39134.73 crores (3.86% instead of 8.6%) has been provided.
Compared to the requirements at 16.6% and 8.6% respectively, there is shortfall of Rs 111780.33 Crores in the outlay for SCP/allocations for welfare of SCs and of Rs 48108.04 Crores in the outlay for TsP/allocations for welfare of STs, as can be seen in the following Table:-
Shortfall in SCP/Allocation for SCs and TsP/Allocation for STs in Central Sector Schemes + Centrally Sponsored Schemes in Budget 2018-19
Total outlay for Central Sector Schemes + Centrally Sponsored Schemes (Rs Crores)
Allocations ought to have been made at not less than 16.6% for SCP and not less than 8.6% for TsP (Rs Crores)
Not less than 168398.83 (16.6%)
Not less than 87242.77 (8.6%)
Even these provisions for SCP/TsP do not follow the correct methodology of including in SCP/TsP only outlays for schemes/programmes which exclusively benefit SC and ST individuals, families, households, habitations and institutions etc. and which will enable them to reach Equality as explained above and be liberated from their basic vulnerabilities, and instead is a result of arithmetical-statistical jugglery as in the past.
Print and electronic media, with their focus on matters like personal income tax and return of long-term capital gains, have ignored these vital aspects of the Budget pertaining to the SCs and STs; such stray and casual remarks as some of them have made are superficial and misleading.
My detailed Paper elaborating these points and also continuing neglect of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes will follow shortly.
03. 02. 2018
P. S. Krishnan
India invited the heads of the ASEAN countries to India to celebrate India’s republic day. This is a welcome move. A lot of money was spent on showcasing India’s cultural history, and it was mostly focused on Ramayana and also Buddhism was prominently showcased in the republic day parade. India in the past has been one of the important places for the countries of the South East Asia. Before the modern nation states came into being, India was divided into many kingdoms and so was the South East Asia and also China. If we try to look at the modern day diplomacy through the lenses of the past then only we can get a clear perspective.
A. K. Ramanujan wrote 300 Ramayanas: Five examples and three thoughts on Translation. In it Ramanujan showed how many versions of Ramayana exists and how they are contradictory to each other in terms of basic format of the story. The great rationalist of India and social reformer, Periya, wrote an interesting book on Ramayana called the “Real Ramayana”. Babasaheb Ambedkar wrote an interesting account of Rama in his book Riddles of Hinduism. Then there is a Buddhist Ramayana-alike story where the Sita appears to be a sibling of Rama. In some versions, Ravana is the father of Sita. So it is clear that the story changes according to geographical location and also according to culture and the story changes dramatically.
Ramayana is a story that cannot connect India and ASEAN countries. What can connect the ASEAN with India (Buddhist India of the past) is Buddhism. But if the countries in the ASEAN come to know the real game of Hindu Nationalists in India who have no sympathy for the Buddhists and Buddhism, India’s current hatred for Buddhism will be exposed. The Indian government dominated by the orthodox Hindus have paid attention to preserving the Buddhist sites. The Buddha Gaya temple is controlled by the Hindus officially though they have given some say to Buddhists. Such is the case with many Buddhist sites which converted to Brahminical Hinduism by the Orthodox Hindutva fundamentalists.
In India, Buddhism is growing and it is one of the fastest growing religion in India. Thanks to Babasaheb Ambedkar that he launched the revival of Buddhism in India. India will see more and more people becoming Buddhists, but like any other parts of the world where Buddhism is reviving, it is reviving with the great spirit of Siddhartha Gautam who wanted to create a new society that is beyond discrimination. His fight against the caste system and for liberation of women is now increasingly getting popular among the engaged Buddhists throughout the ASEAN and Far East Asian Countries. It is appealing to the people in the west who are coming to Buddhism.
Modi and his strategy to woo ASEAN countries will only pay off if he also does something real for the Buddhist heritage, Buddhist population, and Buddhist history in India. But doing this will undermine his background as the Hindu nationalist, which is challenged by the resurgent Buddhism in India. ASEAN countries are just a few steps away from understanding this game of Hindu nationalists and if it is exposed then double dealing of the Hindu fundamentalism will be exposed.
Public Hearing for protecting people’s land and livelihood – Indefinite Demonstration and Militant Sabha
Public Hearing for protecting people’s land and livelihood – Indefinite Demonstration and Militant Sabha – 15 January 2018 – Bazaar Chowk, Bhengari, Tehsil Gharghoda, Raigarh
This region known as Junwani and Suhai forest located in Gharghoda Tehsil of Raigarh district in the State of Chattisgarh, is spread over an area of 10 square kilometers and the total population of the area comprising 32 villages in approximately 50,000. Because of the establishment of T. R. N. Energy Pvt. Ltd. And Mahaveer Energy and Coal Benefication Ltd. in Bhengari village located in the middle of this region, environmental pollution and deforestation is going on in an indiscriminate manner. The illegal extraction of ground water and the waters of Kurkut river, the lifeline of this region, has given rise to a water crisis in the region. Along with this, all the channels in the nearby villages, which are the only discharge channels are getting polluted because of the waste generated by these companies.
As per the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution, this region is covered with dense forests. The land of the villagers has been grabbed without following due process under PESA, Forests Rights Act and Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 because of which local communities have been suddenly rendered unemployed after being evicted from their own lands and the irresponsible discharge of effluent has adversely affected minor forest produce, biological diversity, ecological system and agricultural activity on account of increased human-elephant conflict.
Under the special law enacted for the protection of the rights of Dalits and Adivasis, any interference in the enjoyment of rights of a member of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribes on any land or water source belonging to them is a criminal offense. The establishment and expansion of coal washery and power plants in the region without informing or consulting with local residents; illegal dumping in ash ponds and open forest area; uninterrupted continuance of tree felling and illegal construction despite orders of the Hon’ble High Court to the contrary; the pendencies of hundreds of cases of return of adivasi land in SDM Court for long periods and the eye-wash in the name of registering cases under SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act constitute open violation of the rights of the adivasis.
Because of the impunity granted by the State and the brazenness of the corporate houses, the Constitution and the rule of law has been rendered ineffective in the region. Please join us in raising the banner of resistance against such anti-people conditions of injustice and exploitation.
Adivasi Dalit Mazdoor Kisaan Struggle
Naavapaara Region Welfare Society and All Villagers
Bhengari, Khokhara Aama, Chaarmaar, Naavapara (Te.), Katangadih
District Raigarh (Chhattisgarh)
CC: 1. Superintendent of Police, District Raigarh (Chhattisgarh)
- Regional Environment Officer, Chhattisgarh Environment Conservation Board, Raigarh
- Sub-divisional Officer (Revenue) Gharghoda, District Raigarh
Subject: Regarding Environmental Clearance for establishment of proposed Coal Washery of capacity 05 million tonnes per year on lease area of 17.48 acres in village Bhengari, Tehsil Gharghoda, District Raigarh (Chhattisgarh) by Messrs. Mahaveer Coal Washery Pvt Ltd and abrogation of the proposed project.
Reference: Regional Environment Office, Chhattisgarh Environment Conservation Board, Raigarh, Letter No. 1207 dated 12.12.2017.
The undersigned would like to submit their objections as per the points listed below:-
- That as per the Para 7.1 of Appendix 4 of 2006 Notification under the Environment (Protection) Act, it is mandatory to conduct a public hearing within 45 days of receipt of application from Messrs. Mahaveer Coal Washery Pvt Ltd, but since the date of application has not been specified in the letter referenced above, it seems that the Environment Department has failed in discharging this obligation, because of which the proposed public hearing is illegitimate.
- That as per Appendix 04-Para 07 Clause 2.3 of the Notification issued by Government of India dated 14.09.2006, for the purpose of public hearing, forwarding of the Environmental Impact Assessment report and its Executive Summery in Hindi/English to the President/Secretary of the affected Gram Panchayats has been considered the end of the responsibility even though the perusal and wide publicity of the above Report in the regional and local language has not been done till today.
- That as per Para 08 (IV) of the 2006 Notification, the Application and the E.I.A. Report submitted by the applicant are not based on facts and that deliberate misinformation has been provided about the adverse impact on the villages, towns, Adivasi population, ecological system, wildlife, bio-diversity, minor forest produce, agriculture etc. in the region. That as per Appendix 01 Para-III of the 2006 Notification, under Environmental Sensitivity, no information has been provided about forest area located within 15 kms of proposed project.
- That 50 villages fall within 10 kms of the site of the proposed project, and a population of 50,000 Adivasis is directly affected by the project. Already more than 50 Sponge Iron, Furnace Steel Plant, Captive Power Plant, Thermal Power Plant, Rice Mill, Stone Crusher Industries etc are being operated within the above range of the proposed project site because of which the intensity of water, air, soil and noise pollution has crossed the prescribed standards in the whole area and reached levels considered dangerous for living beings.
- That many public hearings in Raigarh district bear testimony to the fact that they are conducted under the shadow of administrative misuse and police terror and democratic responsibility towards the people is expected from district administration and police force.
- That please peruse the attached pamphlet; because of the impunity granted by the State and the brazenness of the corporate houses, the conspiracy to render ineffective the Constitution and the Rule of Law is at its pinnacle. To attract the attention of the administration and the government towards such anti-people circumstances of injustice and exploitation, a public hearing and a militant Sabha is being organized in Bhengari village, Tehsil Gharghoda on 15 Jan 2018.
This letter is respectfully submitted for your consideration.
Attached: List of Signatories
Adivasi Dalit Mazdoor Kisan Struggle
Navapara Region Welfare Society
All Villagers, Bhengari, Khokhraaoma Aama, Charmar,
Navapara (Tenda.), Katangdih, Tehsil Gharghoda, District Raigarh
India: 14 January 2018 6:43 pm
Local authorities in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh, should respect and protect the right of Adivasi villagers opposing the activities of private companies to conduct peaceful protests on 15 and 16 January.
Residents of six villages in Gharghoda block, Raigarh are planning a protest against the unlawful construction of an ash pond by TRN Energy Limited in Nawapara Tenda village and the establishment of a coal washery by Mahavir Coal Washery Private Limited in Benghari village. The Chhattisgarh Environment Conservation Board has scheduled a public hearing on 16 January as part of the environmental clearance process for the coal washery.
“Adivasi villagers have a right to peaceful protest under the Constitution of India and international law,” said Karthik Navayan, Manager, Business and Human Rights, Amnesty International India. “Authorities have a duty to uphold this right, and ensure that protestors are protected from threats and attacks.”
Local human rights defenders told Amnesty International India that agents acting on behalf of private companies had threatened them against mobilizing villagers and conducting protests. A local human rights defender told Amnesty India, “A company official, some men who had covered their faces, and three policemen threatened us on the main road in Benghari. The official said he would throw us under a vehicle, and put us in jail.”
Local Adivasis have been campaigning for years for their rights over land that they say was unlawfully purchased – through threats, coercion, intimidation and misinformation- by agents acting on behalf of two private companies – TRN Energy Limited and Mahavir Energy and Coal Benefication Limited. In 2016, Adivasi villagers filed civil cases for the restoration of their lands. In June 2017, they also filed criminal complaints under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, alleging that they had been forced into selling their land.
In October 2017, TRN Energy began constructing an ash pond in Nawapara Tenda. Several local villagers told Amnesty International India that they had not been informed or consulted about the construction of the ash pond, or been told about the effects it could have on their rights to clean air, water, health and livelihood.
On 11 January, local villagers wrote to authorities alleging that a scheduled environmental public hearing on 16 January for the establishment of a coal washery in Benghari had not followed required procedures. Villagers plan to conduct a community public hearing as a form of protest on 15 January.
Raigarh Adivasis and Farmers gherao Regional Environment Office Demanding abrogation of proposed public hearing and cancellation of Mahavir and TRN Projects established earlier
Kelo Pravah – 12th Jan 2018
It is happy occasion for the region that industries which have been running sick for a long time now are been given a lease of life. This will have a positive effect on the whole region. But if we talk of Gharghoda region, then the operation of Mahaveer Energy and TRN Industries located in this region, is not in the best interests of the adivasis here. Here, already grave injustice is being perpetrated on the adivasis by the industries. When no action is taken at the district level, then the adivasis take refuge at the High Court. AT the High Court while they do get justice, but when the responsibility of carrying out the High Court’s Orders is given to the local administration, then the law starts looking helpless again.
On Thursday, men and women residents of villages Chaarmaar, Tenda, Bhengari, Katangadih, Khokharoaama and Navaapara of Gharghoda block arrived at the Regional Environment Division in Raigarh. Here they strongly opposed the public hearing scheduled for 16 January at Village Bhengari for the establishment of Captive Coal Washery of 5 MTPA capacity by Mahaveer Energy. Loud slogans were raised against the project. The demand of not only canceling this proposed public hearing was raised but even the closure of already existing industries of Mahaveer Energy and TRN Industries was also demanded. The drama lasted for a long time and after it ended, the affected people from this proposed Coal Washery told us that there is already an understanding between TRN and Mahaveer Energy. Both the companies are exploiting the adivasis here. Without acquiring the land, they have been able to occupy adivasi and non-adivasi lands because of their influence. The administration has committed a grave error by allowing them to set up industry here and they should correct the mistakes now. Therefore, these industries should be immediately closed down. Along with this, the public hearing being held for the proposed Coal Washery should also be canceled.
The affected Adivasis who had gathered at the Environment Division Office at Raigarh in large numbers submitted a memorandum demanding that the public hearing for the proposed Coal Washery by Mahaveer Energy be canceled. Along with this, their previous projects based on land acquisition should also be abrogated. – -Degree Chauhan, Social Activist
The villagers have asked for cancellation of the proposed public hearing. They have raised objection on several points. All these points will be included in the process of public hearing while deciding on further action. – R K Sharma, Regional Environment Officer, Raigarh
We Adivasis are distressed because of the oppression and injustice perpetrated by TRN and Mahaveer Energy. Before these industries were established, we used to collect tendu leaves and receive bonus from the government for this. Now we are being denied of this right because Mahaveer and TRN Industries have cut healthy productive trees on our lands without our permission. Trees like mahua, saal, tendu etc. have been felled in arbitrary high handed manner. We can’t tolerate this anymore. -Pavitri Manjhi, Sarpanch, Gram Panchayat, Bhengari
They are Killing Live Streams/Rivulets: The live stream which provides clean water to the area is used by the adivasis for drinking and non-drinking purposes. That stream is now on the verge of dying. Currently, the waster and ash discharged by these industries is getting mixed with the water of the stream. The stream water has transformed completely. If Mahaveer Energy is permitted to establish its Coal Washery then this stream will complete become unusable and adivasis will be denied their natural resources.
One day before, we will hold our own public hearing: Responding to the call given by the Adivasis distressed by the activities of these industries, representatives from dozens of NGOs across the country are arriving in Raigarh. In the presence of these representatives, the Adivasis will hold their own public hearing one day before i.e. on 15 January at Bazaar Chowk in Bhengari. Here, an indefinite strike and militant meeting has also been announced. During this public hearing, residents will put forward their views on various issued including environment-related ones. Based on these, a report will be submitted by the adivasis to the district administration and Environment Board as well as sent to the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
Schedule V Area: The villagers told us that our area is a Adivasi majority area and its falls under Schedule V of the Constitution. No industries should be allowed to be set-up here. But despite this, taking recourse to fraud and deception, TRN and Mahaveer Energy have established their industries here. The shady business which had been carried out earlier is being repeated all over again now. We will oppose this tooth and nail even if we have to pay the price of this resistance with our own lives. They told us that these industries have cut lakhs of trees and have occupied Adivasi lands without any public hearing. What could be more unjust and shameful for the government.
Dense Forests are being destroyed: These industries who bask in publicity by ceremonially planting four sapling on every Environment Day, are themselves located in densely forested area. The proposed Coal Washery will also be located in the same area. You would recall that few years back only, a Chinese Engineer working for TRN Company had died after being crushed by an elephant. This engineer had not gone 20 kms away to meet these elephants, he was walking near the TRN company compound only and was crushed there by the elephant. Even today, because of the presence of dense forest here, elephants naturally pass through the area. Apart from elephants, his forest is the natural habitat of other wild animals also. The industries which have already snatched away their habitat, is no proposing to set up another industry. Things will become more dangerous if this is allowed. Villagers demand that the industries should first be made to take permission from the Forest Department. Only then can one move ahead with a public hearing but this has not been done.
Pollution caused by existing coal Washeries including Mahavir Energy and TRN Energy. Setting up another coal Washery will make this area uninhabitable – Adivasis of Raigarh
Raigarh (8 January 2018 Kelo Pravah) Villagers have organized themselves against the proposed Mahaveer Col Washery of 5 million tonnes per year capacity in Bhengari in Gharghoda Block. The residents of the proposed area say that they are already distressed by the pollution being caused by exiting coal Washeries including Mahaveer Energy and TRN Energy. In these conditions, setting up of another coal Washery will make this area uninhabitable. Villagers have been raising their voices against the pollution being caused by these industries even earlier but the administration paid scant attention to them. This is the reason why they have resolved to not permit any more industries to be set-up in their area. Villagers are saying that they will strongly oppose the project in the proposed public hearing on 16 January. In these circumstances, it may prove difficult for Mahaveer Coal Washeries to obtain Environmental Clearance for the project.
It is proposed to expand the Coal Washery set-up by Mahaveer Energy in Bhengari Gram Panchayat of Gharghoda Tehsil. The public hearing for Environmental Clearance to the 5 million tonnes per year capacity plant of Mahaveer Coal Washery will be held on coming 16 January at Government Senior Secondary School Navaapara (Tenda). Mahaveer Coal Benefaction is being expanded and Mahaveer Coal Washery is set-up on an area which is said to be 17.48 acres. Because this area is densely forested and is a Adivasi majority area, the residents of the affected villages are dependent on the forests and if the Washery is set-up, deforestation will increase as well as resultant pollution would forest produce is also getting affected. Because of this the sources of livelihoods of the villagers are being destroyed. Along with this, villagers say that earlier along with Mahaveer Coal Benefication, a power plant has been set-up which is supposed to be based on dry fodder but is being run on Coal which is causing severe pollution.
After expansion, if the Coal Washery is set-up, pollution will further increase. The green cover in the forests is also declining. Plants and trees are turning black in color and the people of the region are already distressed because of the fumes coming out of the chimneys of the industries. Now again, expansion plans are being made because of which there is a lot of anger amongst the villagers.
Villagers are preparing to register a strong protest against Mahaveer Coal Washery project during the public hearing which may make it difficult for the management of Mahaveer Coal Benefication and Power Plant to get Environmental Clearance for its proposed expansion in the form of a Coal Washery this time.
Elephant Corridor: Mahaveer Coal Washery is proposed to be set-up in village Bhengari of Gharghoda Tehsil. Because of this, along with Bhengari, mainly Charmar, Navaapara (Tenda), Khokhraaoma, Tenda villages will get affected. Because of passage of elephants through the area, this region has been declared an elephant corridor by the Forest Department. Apart from this, the Forest Department has also made arrangements for the shelter for the elephants and for water provisions for the elephants, the Department had constructed dams in the forests. Apart from elephants, several other wild animals also reside in the forest. Given this, apart from humans, even wild animals in the forest will be affected by the pollution from the Coal Washery.
Villagers up in Arms: Apart from Bhengari, Charmar, Navaapara (Tenda), Khokhraaoma, Tenda villages, even in other villages also residents are strongly opposed to Mahaveer Coal Washery. The villagers say that they are already suffering from the bad consequences of the existing industries. Adivasi lands have been snatched at throw away prices and even now many people have neither received compensation for their land nor have they received any employment in the industries set-up there. We are already suffering from pollution and other problems caused by the industries set-up before and hence Mahaveer Coal Washery cannot be allowed to be set-up in any circumstances. The residents of the area say that through the Gram Panchayat and during the public hearing, they will oppose the setting-up of Mahaveer Coal Washery.
Polluted Water is affecting Farming: The polluted effluents from Mahaveer Coal Benefication and Power Plant are being discharged into Stream. Earlier, the villagers used to utilize the water from this stream for farming but because of the chemical-laden water being discharged into the stream, water has become unusable for agriculture and no alternate source has been found. At the same time, the polluted water is adversely affecting farming because of which rice and urad (black gram) and til (sesame) production has come down from earlier seasons. Apart from this, fly ash from the industries is also being dumped by them in the farms of these villages.
Non-availability of Fodder for Livestock: Currently, because of the pollution caused by Mahaveer Coal Benefication and other industries, the leaves of the forest trees are turning black and even on the grass, a layer of dust being emitted by chimneys is getting deposited. Because of this, the animals have stopped eating green fodder which has given rise to the problem for the villagers of arranging fodder for their livestock. At the same time, because of chemical effluents being discharged from the industries into streams and ponds, no water is clean water is available for drinking for the animals and non-drinking usage by the villagers. These problems will only get exacerbated after establishment of the Coal Washery in the region.
Incomplete Information in the EIA Report: We were informed that in the EIA Report submitted by the company for Mahaveer Coal Washery to the Environment Ministry, only partial information has been disclosed about the region. There are several important facts which have been deliberately suppressed by the company management. Additionally, while a CD has been provided to the Gram Panchayat, there are no arrangements to see the contents of the CD at the village level because of which the CD cannot be examined by the villagers. In the panchayats, a copy of only a brief summary of the EIA Report is being provided which doesn’t provide any specific details. In this region, apart from elephants, several other wild animals travel through, but complete information has not been provided about them. Although there is a discussion about rules from dust management in EIA Reports, but usually they remain on paper only. Overall, the company’s EIA Report is a bundle of falsehoods and lies, but which is relied upon and treated by Environment Ministry Officials as a Bible.
Permission granted for dry waste, but plant is running on Coal: We were told that for production of electricity in Mahaveer Coal Benefication a Power Plant, permission was granted for using dry waste as fuel and on this basis, a subsidy is being availed by the company from the government but the plant is being fired with Coal and dry waste is kept only as an eye-wash. Because of the plant being run on Coal, dust is being generated and pollution is also spreading in large quantity. Without taking permission to use Coal and because of the plant of expansion in the form of setting-up a Coal Washery will only ensure that more pollution spreads in the region.
WHAT DO THE VILLAGERS SAY:Polluted effluents from Mahaveer Coal Benefication are being discharged into the stream because of which availability of water for agriculture has been adversely affected. Our village Charmar has been badly affected by Mahaveer Coal Benefication. In the whole region, clouds of black smoke cover the sky. Given all this, the setting up of Coal Washery will only increase the pollution. It will become difficult for the villagers to stay here. We will oppose Mahaveer Coal Washery tooth and nail. – Jadraam, Resident, Charmar
Already the whole region is affected by pollution, and Coal Washery will further pollute the environment. Currently Mahaveer Coal Benefication and Power Plant is exploiting ground water with the help of large pumps because of which ground water level has plummeted and in the fields we are not able to get sufficient water even after using bore wells. For Coal Washery also, ground water will be utilized and then the water crisis in the region will further deepen and agriculture will be adversely affected. Earlier also, we had opposed the utilization of ground water but the administration did not take any notice and took no action. -Bansidhar, Resident, Charmar
Water, Forest and Land, all have turned black because of the pollution coming out of the chimneys. Because of this, no grasslands are left from the livestock to graze. No approval has been taken in the gram Sabha also for the establishment of the Coal Washery. This project is being forcibly imposed on us by the administration without approval from the gram Sabha. Villagers do not want any more industries to be established in the region. Because of Mahaveer Coal Washery, the ground water level will drop and the environment will also get adversely affected. We will oppose Mahaveer Coal Washery at all levels. -Muralidhar, Nawapara (Tenda)
Other Coal Washeries including Mahaveer Coal Benefication, TRN are already being operated here because of which pollution is happening in large quantity. We are very distressed because of this. Although the land has been taken away from us but to receive compensation we are still running from pillar to post and locals have not been given any employment in the industries. Administrative officials also refuse to take action against the arbitrary dealings of the industries. Previously, industries have been permitted to be established and operate but having witnessed the problems they have caused to us, we can never allow Mahaveer Coal Washery in any circumstance. -Boyram Gupta
The chimneys of the industries spit out black smoke and even the fly ash flies off. Because of this we cannot dry papad (?) etc in the open. Whenever we put the clothes out to dry, ash comes and sticks to them again and soils them. Forest Produce including tendu leaves has been adversely affected. We women gather tendu leaves and dry them for making bowls and plates and earn some income through this. But because of the pollution, the tendu leaves have turned black and the government is refusing to procure them. We are forced to use this blackened tendu leaves for making bowls and plates but their sales have also dropped. In this scenario, we request the government not to set up any more industries in the region. -Vaisakha, Nawapara
Residents here are eating only dust. The industries are using the CSR funds for their own benefit instead of that of the rural area. People have lost lands to companies including Mahaveer Coal Benefication, TRN, NTPC, SECL; forests are being destroyed and pollution is on the rise. Mahaveer Coal Washery should be opposed. We are also not in favor of the Coal Washery. -Shiv Sharma, Block President, Gharghoda, Congress Party
Mahaveer Coal Benefication and Power Plant has received permission to operate a power plant based on the dry waste generated by rice mills but the government is being taken for a ride by using Coal to fire the power plant and produce electricity. The public hearing which is being organized to permit the expansion of this plant to set up a Coal Washery itself looks illegitimate. Even before the Coal Washery is established, this region is suffering from pollution and if the Coal Washery is established, the pollution will increase. IN the public hearing of Mahaveer Coal Washery, the project will be strongly opposed to provide relief to the people of the region. -Surendra Chaudhary, Former President, Town Panchayat,
Environment is getting much polluted. Coal Washery will cause the pollution on further increase. Villagers are not in favor of the Coal Washery. We are with the people and Mahaveer Coal Washery will be opposed. Gram Sabha was also not asked for its approval for the project. – -Urmila Rathia, Sarpanch, Gram Panchayat, Nawapara (Tenda)
Already because of the pollution from the industries, the production of rice, mahua, tendu, sesame and black gram has come down. People are distressed because of the black smoke. Dust is being dumped into the fields and polluted effluent is also being discharged. Agriculture is getting adversely affected because of all these. The problem will get exacerbated by Mahaveer Coal Washery. Looking at the increasing pollution in the region, the Coal Washery will be strongly opposed. – -Pavitri Manjhi, Sarpanch, Gram Panchayat, Bhengari
In the stream, dust is floating because of which agriculture is getting affected. No one is being provided with employment by the company. People are being brought from far-way areas to work in the industries. Because of the loss caused by the pollution, in several areas people have stopped cultivating their fields. Given this, if one more Washery is established, pollution will increase further. Looking at the health and problems being faced by the villagers, the Coal Washery will be strongly opposed. -Amrit Rai Rathia, Sarpanch, Gram Panchayat, Tenda