Protest in Khagra Joydev coal block, Birbhum, West Bengal , India

Conflicts over land, water and inadequate compensation in the Khagra Joydev coal block in Birbhum, West Bengal leading to violent altercation between police and locals.


The Khagra Joydev coal block is located in Birbhum district of West Bengal, with a capacity of extraction of 3 Million tonne per annum, and a life of 37 years (1). On 26 June, 2009, the company DVC EMTA Coalmines Ltd. received environmental clearance for coal mining. The cost of the project was Rs. 435.75 crores, and it involved displacement of 10 villages, namely Devipur, Joplai, Jhirul, Palashdanga, Loba, Barari, Khojkamalapur, Kota, Kamalapur, Birbhadrapur, consisting of 2986 project affected individuals.  However, since the project started, the villagers were unwilling to part with their land, mainly due to the inadequate compensations, and non-consultations with the villagers. In December 2011, they had seized earth-moving equipments to stop mining activities (2). This was also accompanied by strikes and marches (dharnas, sit-ins).

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Basic Data
NameProtest in Khagra Joydev coal block, Birbhum, West Bengal , India
ProvinceWest Bengal
SiteBirbhum district
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Coal extraction and processing
Specific CommoditiesWater
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsLife of Mine (years) : 37

Type of Mine : Under Ground cum Open Cast

Capacity (MTPA): 3

Cost of Project (crores) : Rs. 435.75


Water Requirement (m3/day) : 1200


Total Land Requirement (ha.) : 1215

Land use Water bodies (ha.): 44.58

Land use Forestland (ha.): 285.6
Project Area (in hectares)1216
Level of Investment (in USD)67,844,209
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population3000
Start Date01/01/2010
Company Names or State EnterprisesDamodar Valley Corporation from India
DVC EMTA Coalmines Ltd (EMTA) from India
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Coal, Government of India, Coal India Limited, Government of West Bengal, West Bengal Pollution Control Board
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersKrishi Jami O Jibika Raksha Committee
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Religious groups
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Development of alternative proposals
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Threats to use arms
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Refusal of compensation
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Global warming, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession, Violations of human rights
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Negotiated alternative solution
Under negotiation
Violent targeting of activists
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Currently (August, 2017) there are negotiations and land surveys being conducted to find the rightful land owners who would be affected so that a proper discussion for rightful compensation can be carried out.
Sources and Materials

Water pollution conflicts due to the coal mining
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7. Report about new, large investments to develop the coal block.
[click to view]

2. Report of the 2012 firing in Loba village
[click to view]

3. 37 injured in the firing at Loba village, including 27 policemen
[click to view]

4. Judicial activism against the water conflicts of the coal mining project
[click to view]

6. 214 of the 218 coal blocks allocated were illegal according to the Supreme Court
[click to view]

1. Details of the coal block
[click to view]

5. Newspaper report with villagers claiming that the authorities were aware of the illegal mining being carried out in Birbhum
[click to view]

8. Latest article in the Bengali newspaper about survey to find the real land owners who will be affected by the coal mining.
[click to view]

Other Documents

Gathering for surveying land owners affected by the coal mine. Photo courtesy- Dayal Sengupta, Anandabazaar Patrika
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorSwapan Kumar Patra and Brototi Roy
Last update21/08/2017