Investment in mining projects in Gujarat has meant massive acquisition of land, people’s displacement

illegal-mining-caseBy Ashok Shrimali*

A state level consultation on mining issues of Gujarat was held at the Adivasi Sahitya Academy, Pat village, Taluka Sagbara, District Narmda on 27th February 2016. This consultation was organised by mines mineral & People (mm&P). More than 85 peoples participated from 11 districts of Gujarat, including social activist, researchers, advocates and local media representatives. Dr Kanubhai Kalsariya from Bhavnagar district raised the issue of illegal mining in coastal belt of Saurashtra and Kutch region. Violation of PESA and failure to implement FRA was raised by Romel Sutariya. Ravi Rebbapragada chairperson of mm&P discussed about Samta V/s State of Andharpradesh judgement and impact on tribal community.

Rahu Basu from the Goa Foundation and EC member of mm&P delivered his speech on future generation fund in the context of  Goa foundation V/s state of Goa. KV Pratap from Telengana and Deme Oram from Odisha discussed about District mineral fund and childern in mioning area.

mining1Ashok Chaudhary, Dr Shantikar Vasava ,Amrsinhbhai Chaudhary Prof Arjun rathava, Dr.Lancy Lobo also spoken on displacement issues in Gujarat.

A concept note on Gujarat was submitted at the consultation. Excerpts:

Mining is an important revenue generating activity of the state government. As numbers of illegal mining cases are high, the total revenue collection from royalty and fines was Rs. 700 crore in 2013-14. Sand mining alone earned the state government Rs 81.13 crore. However, profits from mining are huge.

Over the last three years, the Gujarat government fined Rs 419.45 crore against illegal mining across the state. The data was released in the Lok Sabha some time back. Data further reveal Gujarat ranks fifth in illegal mining cases as compared to other states. In 2013, 6023 cases of illegal mining were registered in Gujarat. Shockingly, illegal mining is quite rampant in the state capital, Gandhinagar, which tops the list of districts in the incidence of illegal mining.

mining2Displacement due to development model

Gujarat has invested in industrial projects, dams, roads, mines, power plants and new cities to achieve rapid economic growth. This has been made possible through massive acquisition of land and subsequent displacement of people. Development Displacement Population is the single largest category among all Internally Displaced Populations (IDPs).

It is a profound socioeconomic and cultural disruption for those affected. Dislocation breaks up living patterns and social continuity. It dismantles existing modes of production, disrupts social networks, causes the impoverishment of many of those uprooted, threatens their cultural identity, and increases the risks of epidemics and health problems (Cernea, 1995).

mining3Internal displacement in Gujarat

More than 2,000 people were killed and as many as 100,000 Indian Muslims were forcibly displaced from their homes in a major outbreak of communal violence in Gujarat in February 2002. The state’s Muslim population was targeted in retaliation for an attack by a Muslim mob on a train carrying Hindu militants returning from the destruction of a celebrated mosque at Ayodhya. Women and girls were particularly targeted in the reprisal attacks; hundreds were raped, maimed and killed during the riots. The state government organised relief camps, where the internally displaced reportedly lacked the most basic necessities such as food, medical supplies and sanitation (HRW, April 2002).

Michael Cernea, a sociologist based at the World Bank who has researched development induced displacement and resettlement for two decades, points out that being forcibly ousted from one’s land and habitat carries with it the risk of becoming poorer than before displacement.

mining4Those displaced ‘are supposed to receive compensation of their lost assets, and effective assistance to re-establish themselves productively; yet this does not happen for a large portion of oustees.’ Cernea’s impoverishment risk and reconstruction model proposes that ‘the onset of impoverishment can be represented through a model of eight interlinked potential risks intrinsic to displacement’ (Robinson, 2003). These are:

  1. Landlessness- Expropriation of land removes the main foundation upon which people’s productive systems, commercial activities and livelihoods are constructed. This is the principle form of de-capitalization and pauperization of displaced people, as they lose both natural and human-made capital. 2. Joblessness- The risk of losing wage employment is very high both in urban and rural displacements for those employed in enterprises, services or agriculture. Yet, creating Working Papers – Center on Migration, Citizenship and Development 13 new jobs is difficult and requires substantial investment. Unemployment or underemployment among resettlers often endures long after physical relocation has been completed.
  2. Homelessness- Loss of shelter tends to be only temporary for many resettlers; but, for some, homelessness or a worsening in their housing standards remains a lingering condition. In a broader cultural sense, loss of a family’s individual home and the loss of a group’s cultural space tend to result in alienation and status deprivation.
  3. Marginalization- Marginalization occurs when families lose economic power and spiral on a ‘downward mobility’ path. Many individuals cannot use their earlier acquired skills at the new location; human capital is lost or rendered inactive or obsolete. Economic marginalization is often accompanied by social and psychological marginalization, expressed in a drop in social status, in resettlers’ loss of confidence in society and in themselves, a feeling of injustice, and deepened vulnerability.
  4. Food Insecurity- Forced uprooting increases the risk that people will fall into temporary or chronic undernourishment, defined as calorie-protein intake levels below the minimum necessary for normal growth and work.
  5. Increased Morbidity and Mortality- Massive population displacement threatens to cause serious decline in health levels. Displacement-induced social stress and psychological trauma are sometimes accompanied by the outbreak of relocation related illnesses, particularly parasitic and vector-borne diseases such as malaria. Unsafe water supply and improvised sewage systems increase vulnerability to epidemics and chronic diarrhea, dysentery, and so on. The weakest segments of the demographic spectrum— infants, children, and the elderly—are affected most strongly.
  6. Loss of Access to Common Property- For poor people, loss of access to the common property assets that belonged to relocated communities (pastures, forest lands, water bodies, burial grounds, quarries, and so on) result in significant deterioration in income and livelihood levels.
  7. Social Disintegration- The fundamental feature of forced displacement is that it causes a profound unraveling of existing patterns of social organization. This unraveling occurs at many levels. When people are forcibly moved, production systems are dismantled. Long-established residential communities and settlements are disorganized, while kinship Working Papers – Center on Migration, Citizenship and Development 14 groups and family systems are often scattered. Life-sustaining informal social networks that provide mutual help are rendered non-functional. Trade linkages between producers and their customer base are interrupted and local labor markets are disrupted. Formal and informal associations and self-organized services are wiped out by the sudden scattering of their membership. Traditional management systems tend to lose their leaders. The coerced abandonment of symbolic markers (such as ancestral shrines and graves) or of spatial contexts (such as mountains and rivers considered holy, or sacred trails) cuts off some of the physical and psychological linkages with the past and saps at the roots of the peoples’ cultural identity. The cumulative effect is that the social fabric is torn apart.

Further two additional risks intrinsic to displacement have been added by Robinson (2003) by borrowing from Robert Muggah and Theodore Downing:

  1. Loss of Access to Community Services- This could include anything from health clinics to educational facilities but especially costly both in the short and long term are lost or delayed opportunities for the education of children.
  2. Violation of Human Rights- Displacement from one’s habitual residence and the loss of property without fair compensation can, in itself, constitute a violation of human rights.

In addition to violating economic and social rights, listed above, arbitrary displacement can also lead to violations of civil and political rights, including: arbitrary arrest, degrading treatment or punishment, temporary or permanent disenfranchisement and the loss of one’s political voice. Finally, displacement carries not only the risk of human rights violations at the hands of state authorities and security forces but also the risk of communal violence when new settlers move in amongst existing populations.


*Secretary-general, mines, minerals & People


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