Monday, September 19, 2011

Chhattisgarh coal blocks a test case for acquiring tribal lands

MoEF grants forest clearance, but FRA, PESA compliance still needed

This wedding season, anxious grooms from Parsa and Ghatburra, two villages in Chhattisgarh’s Surguja district, were offered financial assistance from an unlikely source. Adani Mining Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Adani Enterprises Ltd, was handing out loans to all those who could prove that the money would be spent on marriage arrangements.

“A company official took us to the bank, opened accounts in our names, and gave us cheques of Rs. 20,000 each. He then took us to the tehsildar and made us sign an agreement,” said Mohar Sai, a resident of Parsa, who said he knew of about 20 villagers who had taken such loans.

Mr. Sai said that in loan agreements, made out on stamp paper in the presence of the tehsildar, villagers promised to repay the company from money received when their lands in Parsa East and Kente Basan were acquired by the district administration and turned into a coalmine operated by Adani Mining.

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