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Kundil Sponge Iron Limited, Londa, India


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

Name of conflict:Kundil Sponge Iron Limited, Londa, India
State or province:Karnataka
Location of conflict:Village -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 commodities:Direct reduced iron or "sponge iron"
Iron ore

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The 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:7,994,876.89
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2005
Company names or state enterprises:Kundil Sponge Iron Ltd from India
Relevant government actors:Karnataka State Pollution Control Board , Karnataka Udyog Mitra
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Paryavarni (a Belgaum-based non-governmental organisation), 'Save Sahayadri Group' (SSG)

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Social movements
Save Sahayadri Group' (SSG)
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
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
Threats to use arms

Impacts of the project

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-economical 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


Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Institutional changes
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Project cancelled
Development of alternatives:Villagers 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 an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The Sub-Divisional Magistrate and Assistant Commissioner issued an order for closure of Kundil Sponge Iron Limited (KSIL) [7].

Sources and Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict



References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Sponge Iron Industry

Shifting pains

B V R Raja & N Pal

Leah Temper and Joan Martinez-Alier

Is India Too Poor to Be Green?

Indian Sponge Iron Industry-Status, Potential & Prospects

Assessment of heavy metal accumulation in macrophyte, agricultural soil, and crop plants adjacent to discharge zone of sponge iron factory

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Loha Garam Hai Part 2 (in Hindi)

Loha Garam Hai Part 1 (in Hindi) narrating spong iron plant pollution in India

Meta information

Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update20/07/2014