Auction of 88 coal blocks requires prior discussion and consent by the Adivasi Gram Sabhas under PESA And FRA

coal mine

To

Shri Anil Kumar Jain

Union Coal Secretary

Dear Shri Jain,

I find from your Ministry’s portal that the enclosed list of coal blocks are being put to auction shortly.

Most of these coal blocks are located in States such as Jharkhand, MP, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, AP and Telangana and many among the blocks are located in the areas notified under the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution, where the provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1986 (known briefly as PESA) and the Scheduled Tribes And Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition Of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 [known briefly as the “Forest Rights Act (FRA)”] are attracted. The two said legislations, mandate prior consent of  the local adivasi Gram Sabhas before the mines are put to auction.

The apex court of India, in their judgements in the Samata case (AP) and the Vedanta case (Odisha), had clearly reiterated this position, as you will observe in the enclosed copies of the judgements.  Moreover, as laid down in the Samatha judgement, no private agency is permitted to mine in the Scheduled Areas.

In my letter dated 13-11-2021 addressed to the Prime Minister (https://countercurrents.org/2021/11/national-tribal-day-the-centre-and-the-states-should-walk-the-talk/), I had pointed out the legal implications of going ahead with such auctions and I am sure you are fully aware of the same.

If your Ministry and the concerned States choose to go ahead with the auctions as proposed, I am afraid that your action will amount to violating the relevant statutes, causing disruptions to the lives of the adivasis and the other traditional forest dwellers, in addition to violating the directions of the apex court.

May I request you therefore to keep on hold the proposed auctions, pending a comprehensive scrutiny of the proposal from the point of view of the laws applicable to the Scheduled Areas?

Regards,

Yours sincerely,

E A S Sarma

Former Secretary to Govt of India

Visakhapatnam

Support Countercurrents

Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B.
Become a Patron at Patreon

Join Our Newsletter

GET COUNTERCURRENTS DAILY NEWSLETTER STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX

Join our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Get CounterCurrents updates on our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Related Posts

Join Our Newsletter


Annual Subscription

Join Countercurrents Annual Fund Raising Campaign and help us

Latest News