Gondalpura village of Jharkhand is situated on the banks of rivers Damodar and Brahmadiha. The Brahmadiha, a tributary of the Damodar River, divides the region into three parts, where several mining companies are operating. North Karanpura coal field is known for its huge amount of coal reserves.
People of Jharkhand Gondalpura are agitating to save their land. These people are opposing the multi-billion dollar mining project of Adani Enterprise Limited (AIL) which will take away their agricultural land. Based on the 2011 census, 4,029 people will be displaced. Due to mining, the water of the river here is also in danger of being polluted, on which these villagers are dependent for all their work.
What is the Gondalpura Coal mine controversy?
Adani Group was allotted a Gondalpura coal block in November 2020. The site has a reserve of 176 million tonnes of coal, which requires 513 hectares of land of which 219 hectares of land belongs to forests. The total cost of this project is around Rs 99,800 lakh.
The cultivated land here is surrounded by forests. Due to mining, only patches of forest are left here. There are many wild animals living in these forests which are getting affected due to mining activity.
Gondalpura cultivates Paddy and grain in good amounts, the jaggery made from sugarcane is quite famous here. Due to mining, the agriculture here will be ruined.
In 2010, the then Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh identified no-go areas in 9 coal fields. Which included Singrauli, IB Valley, Mand Raigarh, Sohagpur, Talcher, Wardha Valley, Hasdeo Aranya, North Karanpura, and West Bokaro. Gondalpura coal block was also included in this as it is a part of the North Karanpura coal field. These are the areas where there are a lot of green patches.
What are NO-GO Areas?
No-go areas are those where 10% of the area is covered with dense forests or 30% of the land is forest. Jairam Ramesh also warned that if the forest land will be opened for coal mining, it would have very bad effects on the environment.
TVN and DVC company, which are doing coal mining in Gondalpura, wrote to the government in 2011 asking them to reconsider the Gondalpura coal block as a no-go zone.
In the year 2020, keeping all the rules and regulations aside, Adani Enterprises was allotted the Gondalpura mine.
Now Farmers of Gondalpura protesting for their land
Now the villagers are strongly opposing it. Mining activity cannot be started without the approval of the Gram Sabha. But the villagers allege that instead of listening to their words in the gram sabha, the administration is doing the work of persuading them. They will not allow mining on their land under any circumstances.
According to the guidelines of the Supreme Court, it is mandatory to keep any mining activity 100 meters away from the village, forest, river, and fields. It is also forbidden to dump the debris due to mining and any development work in the river. But these companies are working arbitrarily, and are extending coal blocks towards the fields, and forests.