Public hearing sans public for Jindal plant in Gadchiroli


Author(s):
Aparna Pallavi
Issue Date:
2013-5-13

Affected people stage boycott, administration carries on nevertheless

Additional collector  
Sanjay Dhivre, who chaired the public hearing, argues with activists  
protesting that the hearing was illegal (photos by Aparna Pallavi)Additional collector Sanjay Dhivre, who chaired the public hearing, argues with activists who were protesting that the hearing was illegal (Photos by Aparna Pallavi)

Despite a boycott staged by 17 villages affected by a proposed iron mine project, a public hearing for it was held at Alapalli in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district on May 8.

Additional collector Sanjay Dhivre, who chaired the hearing, and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) regional officer Nilkanth Nigul, who was part of the panel, ignored repeated pleas of activists and public to cancel the proceedings in view of the absence of the affected people and various illegalities committed by the Jindal group company and the administration in holding the hearing. They also pointed out that the panel of the public hearing was incomplete as per regulations since the sarpanch and gram sevaks of the two affected gram panchayats (Gardewada and Gatta) were not included on the panel.

Activist Harshali Poddar brought to the panel’s attention a gram sabha resolution drawn up by the residents of village Damkondwahi in the Gatta gram panchayat where the project by JSW Ispat Steel Limited has been proposed. The resolution, drawn on May 1, this year stated clearly the residents were against the project and directed the administration not to grant permission to the project. The resolution was submitted to the Etapalli tehsildar on the same day for appropriate action, but no cognisance was taken, she pointed out.

Activists and residents of Dhanora and Sironcha tehsils in the district who were attending the hearing in solidarity with the project-affected people raised slogans demanding the cancellation of the hearing. However, instead of taking cognizance of the grievances, Dhivre called the police to force the activists into silence.

Harsha Poddar and her colleague Anand are forced into silence by police  
personnel Harsha Poddar and her colleague Anand are forced into silence by police personnel

During the rest of the hearing, which lasted about three hours, repeated arguments broke out between Dhivre and the activists, resulting in several rounds of police intervention, and the speakers were forced to speak while being surrounded by police personnel.

EIA lies, procedural violations

During the hearing, Poddar and Anand from the Bharat Jan Andolan pointed out that MPCB had not displayed the notice of the public hearing at the Gadrewada and Gatta panchayat offices, and that only a single copy of the executive summary of the environment impact assessment (EIA) had been made available. What is more, JSW steel had not even submitted a Marathi EIA, as required by regulations. They also trashed the claims of MPCB of having issued public notices in a local English and Marathi newspaper, saying the affected people were highly vulnerable Madia tribals whose literacy rate was extremely low and no newspaper was available in the project area.

Poddar pointed out that the EIA itself contained many lacunae. For instance, while the June 26, 2009 notification of the Ministry of Environment and Forests mentioned allotting 995 hectares (ha) to the project, the EIA mentioned an additional 213 ha of which no account was given.

The EIA also did not provide the mandatory methodology and study details used to arrive at conclusions regarding various environmental aspects like flora and fauna, drainage patterns and so on. Several groups objected to the hearing being held at Allapalli, 80 km away from the project area, and demanded it be cancelled and rescheduled to be held where the affected people could attend. Others raised objections regarding the fact that the mine was not accompanied by industry which could generate local employment.

Anand exhibits evidence showing people in Gatta and Gadrewala had no  
notice of the public hearing   Anand exhibits evidence showing people in Gatta and Gadrewala had no notice of the public hearing

Irfan Khan, a resident of Etapalli tehsil where the project area is located, said the project should not be justified on grounds of corporate responsibility promises made by the Jindal group, “Government should organise for education and welfare on its own, not depend on corporate,” he said.

Some 100 bogus speakers recruited by the company, comprising rural women from Gadchiroli who were not sure why they had been brought there, and company employees were not allowed to speak at the hearing by the activists.

Administration ‘unaware’ of procedural lapses

Talking to Down To Earth after the hearing, additional collector Dhivre made a surprising statement. Whether the hearing was legal or not was none of his business, he said. “I had been asked to chair the proceedings, and I have done that,” he said.

MPCB regional officer Nigul said he had received no objections regarding procedural violations since the public hearing notice was put up. “We cannot entertain objections at the last moment,” he said. He also denied knowledge of the gram sabha resolution opposing the project.

The brazen manner in which the hearing was conducted has led to widespread public discontent in the area. MLA Namdeo Usendi of Gadchiroli has issued an objection letter to the administration regarding the issue. Local MLA Deepak Atram, who had demanded that the protest be held at Etapalli, and held a protest during the hearing itself, has also extended support to the protest against the hearing. Vidarbha Environment Action Group, which was instrumental in forcing Wardha district administration to organise a repeat public hearing for Lanco Infratech’s coal fired power plant, is preparing to challenge the hearing in court, informed Sudhir Paliwal of the group.

 


Source URL: http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/public-hearing-sans-public-jindal-plant-gadchiroli

 

#India – Locals oppose steel plant expansion plan


By Express News Service – JAIPUR

13th April 2013 08:52 AM

Many locals including PRI members present at a public hearing on Friday objected to proposed expansion of Mideast Integrated Steels Limited (MISL) at Kalinga Nagar industrial complex area in the district.

The villagers raised objection to organising the public hearing, convened by the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB), without prior information to them.

They alleged that it was a ploy by the company officials to ensure that villagers cannot attend it.Though around 200 people had congregated at the venue of Danagadi Bhawan under Danagadi block, only 22 of them participated in the hearing. Out of them, 17 participants opposed its expansion.

“The company has already polluted the entire area. As the nearby Gandanal, used by thousands of people, has been polluted, people residing around the plant are suffering from tuberculosis and various skin diseases. The company never provides any medical assistance to us and has never cared to improve our standard of living,” said vice-chairman of Danagadi block Sudhakar Bhanj at the meeting.

Bidyadhar Mohanty, another participant, alleged that MISL has been providing work for only six months to its workers in a year. If the company remains closed for half of the year, why should it be allowed for expansion.

Regional Officer of OSPCB Santosh Kumar Panda admitted that only 22 persons participated in the hearing.

 

Public hearing on PDS in Imphal – July 9th


Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, June 15 2012: The Sustainable Livelihood Forum would organise a public hearing on July 9 and 10 at Lamyanba Shanglen, Palace Compound on the failure of the State to provide PDS items regularly in adequate quantities.

Speaking to media persons at Manipur Press Club today, convenor of the forum K Shangnaidar Tontang while conveying about the scheduled public hearing, also informed that one State working committee has been constituted comprising several civil organisations in connection with denial of PDS items to the public.

Saying that BPL families living in all the nine districts have not been receiving their due share of PDS items for a long time, the convenor asserted that people above poverty line have been enjoying the benefits of public distribution system thereby forfeiting the right to food of many impoverished families.

Observing that the existing PDS agents have not been working according to guidelines, Shangnaidar remarked that the agents have seemingly forgotten who should be the beneficiaries of public distribution system.

At the same time, some people have been misappropriating the PDS items in collusion with relevant officials.

Inviting all interested persons to the public hearing, the convenor appealed to all concerned not to impose any bandh or blockade on the two specified dates.

Human Right Alert executive director Babloo Loitongbam also appealed to all the people to participate in the public hearing without any distinction between on religion, ethnicity or language.

Supreme Court’s Right to Food Commissioner Harsh Mander would also attend the public hearing.

Threat of Violence against women activists at TATA STEEL Public Hearing – March 12th


THE TATA STEEL PUBLIC HEARING

DATE0 MARCH 12TH, 2012

time- 11am – 1pm

VENUE- D. A V SCHOOL,  Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO ) , Noamundi ( which is a violation of MOEF, history repearing again )

Noamundi is a census town in Pashchimi Singhbhum district in the Indian state of Jharkhand. It is also an administrative ‘block’. It is a small mining town in close to the Orissa border. It lies near to Jamshedpur and 64 km (40 mi) from Chaibasa. Nearby towns include Padapahar, Barajamda, Kharsawan, Gua and Kiriburu.Noamundi, in the West  Si n g h b h u m d i s tr i c t o f  Jharkhand, is the iron ore
capital of India. Most of the  mines here are being run by  the Tatas.The area is also one  of the most polluted. Red iron ore dust from mining activity around Noamundi  covers every surface affecting crops, animals and humans.
For more infromation contact-  09471315165 for more details

 

 “On 12th March their Noamundi mines TATA STEEL is having a public hearing for extension of lease their mines. They have tried it in 20054 and the villagers drove them away. This time they are using all kinds of pressure tactics on Omon Mahila Samiti and JMACC threatening violence etc. The former CM of Jharkhand Babulal Marandi has guaranteed the TATAS that he will get this public hearing done at any cost. Babulal send a journalist to Oman telling them that if they oppose then the State will brand them as Maoist. We fear violence on that day. Journalist who can please help by covering the news. “

What will happen on march 12, 2012, a  Repeat of Septemebr 25th 2004 

LATEST UPDATE

Jeshoda Das is a nurse at the TISCO Mines hospital in Jodda Orissa some km from Noamundi in Jharkhand. For the past two weeks she is being mentally tortured by the GM of TISCO. Her fault? Her elder sister Ambika Das is the leader of Oman Mahila Sangathan leading the movement against the Public Hearing to be held on 12th of March. The GM and others from their personnel department has told her that she will loose her job if Oman does not withdraw the agitation against the mines extension.

Jeshoda has told the GM point blank that they can throw her out but she does not want her people to suffer because of her job.

The other good point in the movement is that a majority of the Adivasi Traditional tribal chiefs known as Mundas are with Oman. TISCO is trying to purchase them. Rice beer and cash is being poured into these villages to divide the people.

WE HAVE ALSO JUST RECEIVED NEWS THAT THE POLICE HAVE BEEN GIVEN ORDERS FOR A LATHI CHARGE. AN ORDER FOR LATHI CHARGE MEANS THAT A FIRING ORDER TOO IS IN PLACE. THE JUST APPOINTED CHAIRMAN OF TATAS CYRUS MISTRY HAS COMPLETED A TOUR OF THE NOAMUNDI MINES THIS WEEEK IN PREPARATION FOR THE PUBLIC HEARING.’

Jharkhand’s  Curse.

Natural water resources have been drying up or polluted over the decades due to mining and consequent change in weather conditions. Noamundi used to get tons of rain in the early 90s but now there is no method to the rains in Noamundi. Local people attribute this to the devastation of forests and indiscriminate mining.

For a better part of the 20th century, Tata Steel went on to become synonymous with Indian industrialisation, social philanthropy and ethical capitalism. Long before fair labour practices were enshrined in Indian law or adopted in the West, the company introduced an eight-hour working day, equal pay for equal work, maternity benefits, worker’s accident compensation and profit-sharing bonuses. For five decades at the helm of the Tata business empire, JRD Tata was credited with infusing Tata Steel with a “people-first” approach that earned the company its continuing competitive edge – strong loyalty and high productivity from its workers, allowing it to produce good quality steel at low costs. All the leading business figures of the Tata family set personal examples by bequeathing large portions of their personal wealth to philanthropic trusts, run by the Tata holding group for social welfare and advancement.

Fast-forward to the post-liberalisation era of the 90s and slowly, Tata Steel’s ethical tilt began to appear more like an ethical veneer. The company’s head of communications, Sanjay Choudhary had been quick to dismiss Kalinganagar as “a stray incident [that] should not derail a good thing.” In reality, it was not a stray incident. In August 1997, two women were crushed to death during a protest rally against Tata Steel’s proposal to set up a steel plant in Gopalpur-on-Sea, a coastal town in Orissa. Three years later, the company was forced to abandon the proposal following protests from over 20,000 people. In 2000, three tribal youth were shot dead by the police during a peaceful demonstration near a proposed Tata Steel bauxite-mining site in Rayagada district, Orissa. In Kalinganagar itself, since the 2006 incident there have been a dozen more mining-related deaths, of which — were due to protests against Tata Steel, according to news reports.

In  2004  in Noamundi, the September 25 public hearing was held inside the premises of the Tata Iron and Steel Company — something which was a violation of the Environment Ministry’s statutory norms. According to Chokro Khandait of the Chaibasa-based Jharkhand Organisation for Human Rights (JOHAR), the villagers fear TISCO’s expanded mining operations will lead to the loss of their lands. They wanted to speak out in the public hearing, to air their views. But the police stopped them  before they  could come near the premises. But according to TATA official Release -300 people from nearby villages attended the hearing , which actually mostly  TISCO employees.

SO, now what will TATA STEEL do, hire goons, no why should they when they have the State support.

But how come, the legality of this meeting is not questioned if it is against the   Environment Ministry’s statutory norms.

Please share  widely THE TATA STEEL PUBLIC HEARING FOR EXTENSION OF LEASE IS ILLEGAL, until and unless the affected villagers are heard and convinced , the mining lease cannot be extended.

Lets all PROTEST

so please share widely on your  blog, website, twitter, Fb page


UNMASK TRUE FACE OF TATA CLICK

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