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Kundil Sponge Iron Limited, Londa, India


Description

A Sponge iron factory by Kundil Sponge Iron Limited had been started on in-principle clearance from the Karnataka Udyog Mitra in 2005. The groups proposal to set up sponge-iron and ferro alloy units and power plants at Londa was among the 23 projects cleared by the State-level single window agency and approved by the Karnataka Udyog Mitra and the Directorate of Industries and Commerce [1].

Villagers of surrounding areas alleged that the factory has violating pollution norms. The residents of Londa attacked Kundil Sponge Iron Ltd and demanded its closure for being a highly polluting factory. People have also organized rallies, agitations, submitted memorandums and filed cases in the court. It is said that a court has ordered for the closure of Kundil. Hence the re-opening of the factory should be a contempt of court order. The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has issued a show-cause notice to the plant following complaints from the people in 2005 [2, 3, 4, 5] . The factory was closed following a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by Khanapur residents [6]. The Sub-Divisional Magistrate and Assistant Commissioner, Vijaymahantesh B.D., on Friday issued an order for closure of Kundil Sponge Iron Limited (KSIL) in Londa [7] Also, the plant is located near the reserve forest which is an ecologically sensitive area. It lies on the boundary of a proposed biosphere reserve (the Sahyadri Biosphere Reserve proposal, made by the Goa and Karnataka forest departments) and a wildlife sanctuary. The project site lies virtually on the crestline of the Western Ghats (between the West Coast and the adjoining hilly regions) which forms the main watershed from which all east- and west-flowing rivers originate [1].

Basic Data

NameKundil Sponge Iron Limited, Londa, India
CountryIndia
ProvinceKarnataka
SiteVillage -Londa in, Taluk - Khanapur
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level

Source of Conflict

Type of Conflict (1st level)Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral processing
Metal refineries
Thermal power plants
Specific CommoditiesDirect reduced iron or "sponge iron"
Iron ore

Project Details and Actors

Project DetailsThe plant had production capacity of 60,000 tonnes per annum. The cost of the project is less than Rs. 50 crores Indian Rupees
Level of Investment (in USD)7,994,876.89
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2005
Company Names or State EnterprisesKundil Sponge Iron Ltd from India
Relevant government actorsKarnataka State Pollution Control Board , Karnataka Udyog Mitra
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersParyavarni (a Belgaum-based non-governmental organisation), 'Save Sahayadri Group' (SSG)

The Conflict and the Mobilization

Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Women
Save Sahayadri Group' (SSG)
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Development of a network/collective action
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Strikes
Threats to use arms

Impacts

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place

Outcome

Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseInstitutional changes
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Project cancelled
Development of AlternativesVillagers alleged that the factory has been violating the norms set by the Pollution Control Board ever since its inception. The black ash being emanated by the factory is affecting the cattle besides polluting air, water and the forests in the Western Ghats. The villagers have resolved not to allow the factory employee to work there [5].
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The Sub-Divisional Magistrate and Assistant Commissioner issued an order for closure of Kundil Sponge Iron Limited (KSIL) [7].

Sources and Materials

Legislations

THE AIR (PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF POLLUTION) ACT, 1981
http://envfor.nic.in/legis/air/air1.html

THE ENVIRONMENT (PROTECTION) ACT, 1986
http://envfor.nic.in/legis/env/env1.html

References

Sponge Iron Industry
http://www.cpcb.nic.in/upload/NewItems/NewItem_102_SPONGE_IRON.pdf

Shifting pains
http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/content/40785/shifting-pains/

Assessment of heavy metal accumulation in macrophyte, agricultural soil, and crop plants adjacent to discharge zone of sponge iron factory
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00254-007-1025-y

B V R Raja & N Pal
http://ecacwb.org/editor_upload/files/7278460-Indian-Sponge-Iron-Status-Potential-Prospects-05rarajapal0406.pdf

Leah Temper and Joan Martinez-Alier
http://www.jstor.org/stable/4419510

Is India Too Poor to Be Green?

Indian Sponge Iron Industry-Status, Potential & Prospects

Media Links

Loha Garam Hai Part 1 (in Hindi) narrating spong iron plant pollution in India
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8AefikoFug

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOiPC2OXEb8

Loha Garam Hai Part 2 (in Hindi)

Meta Information

ContributorSwapan Kumar Patra
Last update20/07/2014