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Tilaiya Ultra Mega Power Project, India


With India being a country of chronic power deficits, the Government of India has planned to provide power for all by the end of the 11^ Five-Year Plan (2007–2012) and to further increase power generation in the 12^ Five-Year Plan (2012-2017). Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPP) are a series of ambitious power projects planned by the Government of India, which entail the creation of an additional capacity of at least 100,000 MW by 2012.

The Government of India has allocated Kerandari ‘BC’ coal block in North Karanpura coal fields the state of Jharkhand to Jharkhand Integrated Power Company Limited (JIPCL, subsidiary of Reliance Power Limited [2]), which is developing the Tilaiya Ultra Mega Power Project. Jharkhand Integrated Power Limited was transferred to the company in the year 2009; subsequent to the transfer, the company along with the strategic partner North American Coal Corporation Limited developed a detailed mine plan for the Tilaiya coal mines. North American Coal Corporation Limited, the strategic partner for developing and operating coal mines, is an American coal mining and mining services company and ranks as America’s largest lignite coal producer. On commencement of production, the company will be the largest coal mining company in the private sector in the country.

The allocation for the Tilaiya Ultra Mega Power Project was made in the year 2007 [1]. Reliance Power aims to mine 40 million tonnes of coal per year from the Kerendari coal blocks, spread over 4,500 hectares, for its JIPCLs plant, while the aggregate coal reserves of these mines are around 1.2 billion tonnes. The Tilaiya coal mines are approximately 100 kms from the Tilaiya power plant.

The mining project will uproot more than 8,500 households from Kerendari [3].

In 2011, The CDM Executive Board of UNFCCC has granted CDM credits to the project. The CDM Executive Board once again ignored criticism of the environmental integrity of coal projects by approving yet another supercritical coal project. Over the next 10 years the plant will receive 21 million CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) credits while emitting 240 million tons of CO2.

On May 2012, some 20 villages in Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand called a maha-panchayat and resolved not to let Reliance Power mine coal from Kerendari B and C blocks for its 4,000 MW power plant being set up at Barhi village. The maha-panchayat was convened a week after the police lathi-charged people who would be affected by the mining project and arrested 200 of them during a public hearing. The residents were peacefully protesting against the hearing organised in Hazaribagh town, 44 km from Kerendari village which will be fully displaced by the project. The coal mine will not only displace an entire village, it will also affect the fertile agricultural land in the nearby villages. But neither the company nor the authorities are willing to hear the residents’ plea [3]

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Tilaiya Ultra Mega Power Project, India
State or province:Jharkhand
Location of conflict:Kerendari
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Coal extraction and processing
Specific commodities:Land

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Jharkhand Integrated Power Limited comprises a 4,000 MW coal fired power project.

The aggregate coal reserves of these mines are around 1.2 billion tonnes and the mine plans envisage a production level of 40 mtpa.

The Tilaiya coal mines are approximately 100 kms from the Tilaiya power plant.

The coal blocks are spread over 4,500 hectares.

Six plants of 660 MW each will be deployed as a part of the project activity.

Over the next 10 years the plant will receive 21 million CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) credits while emitting 240 million tons of CO2.

Project area:123,000
Level of Investment:3,226,363,600: Rs 20,000-crore
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:40,000-50,000
Start of the conflict:2012
Company names or state enterprises:Jharkhand Integrated Power Limited (JIPL) from India
Reliance Power Ltd from India
Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group from India
North American Coal Corporation Ltd
Relevant government actors:Union Coal Ministry, Government of India, Government of Jharkhand, Jharkhand Pollution Control Board, Power Finance Corporation
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Centre for Science and Environment (CSE): a non-profit organisation in Delhi, Local Villagers

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Informal workers
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Residents of the area had approached the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a non-profit in Delhi, apprising it about their difficulty in participating in the public hearing held at a far-off place. Following this, CSE, wrote letters to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) stating that public hearing for the project is in violation of paragraph 7 of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification of 2006. As per the notification, public hearing should be conducted at or in close proximity to the project site. In response, MoEF sent an urgent mail to the member secretary of the state pollution control board, directing him to look into the matter and make sure that the public hearing took place as close to the project site as possible. Despite MoEF’s direction, the board did not change the venue of the public hearing. This irked the village residents who staged protests during the public hearing [3]


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, 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, Mine tailing spills
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Violent targeting of activists
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Residents contend that the Jharkhand Pollution Control Board organized the hearing at a very distant place. The people affected by the project would not be able to participate in it. Authorities defended the allegation that the public hearing could not be conducted at the affected villages due to law and order problem, because the villages are in the Naxalite-affected areas. Despite Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF’s) direction, to conduct public hearing at the nearby locations, the board did not change the venue of the public hearing. This irked the village residents who staged protests during the public hearing [3]
Another core concern was rehabilitation of people who will get displaced. Though Reliance Power has proposed a package of Rs 10 lakh per acre (0.4 ha), it is not willing to make a written commitment [3]

Sources & Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Act (2013)


Act 1957.pdf


(As amended up to 10th May, 2012)

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

Ultra Mega Power Projects : A Risk Analysis

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Govt clears coal mining plan of RPowers Jharkhand project

CDM registration

[1] Tilaiya Coal Mines

[2] Company Overview of Jharkhand Integrated Power Limited

[3] Hazaribagh villages up against Reliance Power

Tilaiya Coal Mines Factsheet

UNFCC approves controversial Reliance power project in Jharkhand

Carbon Watch Unsolicited letter: Review of the Additionality of the CDM Project 4629: Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions Through Super Critical Technology – Jharkhand Integrated Power

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

NDTV India Insight: Why ultra-mega power projects have been a gross failure

Meta information

Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update24/06/2014