New Delhi– Abusive laws and poor enforcement of safeguards in Indian state-run coal mines is provoking local tribal communities into opposing expansion of these blocks, human rights group Amnesty International said on Wednesday.

Aakar Patel
Aakar Patel

“Abusive laws, poor enforcement of existing safeguards and corporate neglect of human rights are now leading Adivasi communities to oppose the expansion of the very mines they once thought would bring employment and prosperity, until they receive remedy for violations,” Amnesty International executive director Aakar Patel said in a report.

The report on coal mining in India and violations of tribal rights, said the Centre and the states “don’t seem to care to speak or listen to the vulnerable Adivasi communities whose lands are acquired and forest is destroyed for coal mining”.

State miner Coal India Ltd (CIL), which has near-monopoly of the fuel production in India, has targeted an annual output of one billion tonnes by 2020.

The report speaks of a “pattern of human rights violations” in three mines run by CIL subsidiaries examined by it — Kusmunda mine in Chhattisgarh, Tetariakhar mine in Jharkhand and Basundhara- West mine in Odisha.

The report claimed that in these mines the Centre acquired land without directly informing the affected families, or consulting them about their rehabilitation and resettlement.

“Frequently, the only official notice given was a declaration of the government’s intention to acquire’ land in an official government gazette, which is virtually impossible to access for affected communities,” it said.

The report is based interviews with 124 affected tribals, village, district and state officials of the states concerned, forest and pollution control boards, journalists, activists, as well as with CIL representatives.