Allotment of Barra coal block violates PESA and FRA

Allotment of Barra coal block in Raigarh District, Chhattisgarh without local Gram Sabhas’ consent violates PESA and FRA

E A S Sarma

Former Secretary to Government of India


Shri Amitasbh Jain

Chief Secretary

Chhattisgarh State Govt

Dear Shri Jain,

I understand that the Union Ministry of Coal has allotted the Barra coal block in Kharsia Taluk in Raigad District of Chhattisgarh to the Vedanta Group in the recent coal block auctions (

The area where the coal block is located lies within the notified Scheduled Area of Raigad District and, as such, it attracts the provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) and the Forest Rights Act (FRA), which mandate a prior discussion and consent of the local Gram Sabhas before a decision is taken to allot the coal block to a private party for mining. It appears that the proposal in the instant case to auction the block to a private company for mining was not posed to the local Gram Sabhas for their prior consent, which implies that the decision to allot the coal block to the Vedanta Group for mining is prima facie violative of both the PESA and the FRA.

The legal position stated above has been confirmed by Hon’ble Supreme Court on April 18, 2013 in WP (C) No. 180/2011 (Orissa Mining Corporation Ltd vs Ministry Of Environment & Forest on bauxite mining in the Scheduled Area of Odisha).

May I therefore urge upon the State government to put the auction on halt immediately?


Yours sincerely,

E A S Sarma

Former Secretary to Government of India


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