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Original article

Do adverse ecological consequences cause resistance against land

acquisition? The experience of mining regions in Odisha, India
Saswat Kishore Mishra* , Pulak Mishra
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Kharagpur 721302, India


Article history:
Received 30 December 2015 In India, there is a long history of protest against land acquisition, which has halted a number of
Received in revised form 11 November 2016 development interventions. The issue has been particularly serious in the state of Odisha, which is
Accepted 11 November 2016 mineral-rich but backward, economically. While ongoing debates focus mainly on the price of the land
Available online xxx and compensation for, and resettlement of, those uprooted by the proposed changes, the present paper
focuses on the potential adverse ecological consequences of mining. Through analysis of primary and
Keywords: secondary data, the study finds that there are more negative impacts on the environment and ecology in
Land acquisition mining districts than in the non-mining districts of Odisha. However, potential adverse ecological
consequences are a dominant cause of protests against land acquisition for mining in the state.
ã 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction mineral resources, the amount of land acquired as a proportion of

its total requirement for mining and mining-based industrial
Mining involves the acquisition of a large amount of land and projects is very low.2 As a result, only 21.67 percent came to
hence changes in its ownership rights and characteristics. Such fruition during 2002-13 (Pradhan, 2013). This is a critical issue
changes often lead to conflicts among various stakeholders, considering the unsuitability of a large part of the state for farming,
including the government, investors and the people who depend the overburden of the population on the sector, and the declining
on the land for their livelihoods. average size of cultivable land holding.
In India, attempts at acquiring land for mining in recent years Existing studies, ongoing debates and interventions in the
have been met with significant resistance. In many cases, disputes Indian context have focused mainly on the price of land and
have been so intense that they have delayed the implementation of compensation for and resettlement of affected people as reasons
projects.1 During 2011–2014, the value of stalled projects stood at 8 for protests (e.g., Ghatak and Mookherjee, 2014; Marjit, 2011;
percent of India’s GDP, the vast majority of which were linked to Ghatak and Ghosh 2011). While these factors are important, the
land acquisition problems (GoI, 2015). potential adverse ecological consequences of mining are also likely
The situation appears to be particularly serious in the state of to be crucial. The adverse impacts of mining on ecosystems limit
Odisha, which is one of the most mineral rich but economically livelihood opportunities, particularly for those who depend
backward states in the country. It contains nearly 17 percent of the predominately on natural resources for their survival and do not
total mineral deposits in the country (GoO, 2013). The state alone hold property rights over land. Even property rights may not be
constitutes around 25.82 percent, 32.53 percent, and 56.36 percent enough, particularly when the affected people lack bargaining
of the country’s total reserve of coal, iron-ore, and bauxite, power. Resolving the problem of land acquisition requires a deeper
respectively and has a heavy concentration of chromite, manga- understanding of various ecological issues, and addressing them
nese, and graphite (ibid.). While the state has immense potential accordingly.
for its socio-economic development through extraction of these The present paper examines the link between the ecological
consequences of mining and households’ resistance against land

* Corresponding author.
E-mail addresses:, (S.K. Mishra), The total land acquired as a proportion of its requirement thus far is only 27.96 (P. Mishra). percent in the case of mining projects and 39.28 percent for other projects (IDCO,
For details, see Mishra (2016). 2015).
2214-790X/ã 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Table 1
Land-use pattern in Talcher as a percentage of total geographical area.

1992 1996 2000 2003 2006 2008

Land put to non-agricultural uses 6.62 14.30 24.31 26.43 13.83 21.23
Barren and non-cultivable land 0.55 0.09 0.25 0.13 2.29 0.06
Permanent pastures & other grazing land 0.61 4.46 1.00 2.06 2.19 2.06
Cultivable waste 5.24 2.98 2.82 2.63 4.30 2.07
Old fallows 5.96 5.48 6.05 4.80 6.84 7.67
Current fallows 5.67 11.97 7.70 15.28 10.37 16.12
Net sown area 22.29 29.79 29.26 25.88 26.83 20.00
Land under misc. trees, crops, and groves not included net area sown 2.46 1.53 3.22 2.61 1.49 0.76

Source: District Statistical Handbook (various issues) Angul, Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Government of Odisha, Bhubaneswar.

acquisition in the Indian state of Odisha. The study uses both mining districts5 , to examine ecological changes; and (ii) a
primary and secondary data to explore this issue. The paper is household level analysis to examine whether such changes are
divided into six sections. The methodologies applied and sources of fuelling resistance to mining projects. A variety of indicators such
data used in the paper are detailed in Section 2. While Section 3 as changes in forest cover, ground water level and its sectoral
critically reviews existing studies concerning the ecological usage, extent of water pollution, changes in climatic conditions,
consequences of mining in general, Section 4 examines various and extent of health hazards is used to understand ecological
ecological changes in mining districts vis-à-vis non-mining changes and their consequences. Further, descriptive statistics and
districts of Odisha. The ecological implications of mining at the standard measures of these variables have been applied. The
household level and peoples’ perceptions of the impacts of mining secondary data were sourced from the Official Web Portal of the
on the environment are discussed in Section 5. Section 6 Ministry of Environment and Forests of the Government of India.
summarizes the findings, highlighting various policy implications In order to understand whether the ecological consequences
and identifies areas for further research. have any bearing on protests against land acquisition, a household
level analysis was carried out using primary data collected from
2. Methodology and study area 225 sample households in six villages (namely Balugaon,
Madanmohanpur, Langijoda, Anadipur, Padmabatipur, and Rakas)
2.1. Description of the study area across two gram panchayats (Kandhal and Padmabatipur) of
Talcher block. The sample villages are chosen in such a manner that
The paper uses primary data collected in the vicinity of the they lie within a 5 km radius from the mining regions. This is done
Talcher coalfield, the second largest producer of coal in the country, bearing in mind that the most acute impacts on the environment
in Angul district of Odisha. It is also one of the major industrial are more likely to occur in areas located in close proximity to
zones in the state. The past few decades have seen the rapid growth mining sites. Further, coal mining in the vicinity of these villages
of industrial activities in this area, mainly due to the availability of has been ongoing for more than five decades. Sample households
coal in the region and abundant water in the Brahmani River. The were selected following a proportionate stratified random
Angul-Talcher region ranks as the seventh-most critically polluted sampling procedure. The sample size for each village was
industrial cluster of India (CPCB, 2009). There are instances of proportionate to its population size. In addition to carrying out
people resenting lack of actions on the part of the Odisha State focus group discussions, the present study also used structured
Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) in this regard. The situation is questionnaire to collect necessary primary data. This was done so
likely to be grimmer with the state government signing because there are possible conflicts between micro (individual)
memoranda of understandings for setting up a few more steel and macro (community) level interests in the context of the land
units and about 10 thermal power plants in the region. acquisition debate. All of the households in a particular area may
Talcher coalfield has 11 coal mines and 38.65 billion tonnes coal not necessarily oppose land acquisition. Even when a household
reserves, the highest in India.3 The coalfields under Mahanadi opposes land acquisition, the underlying motive(s) may be
Coalfields Limited (MCL), a subsidiary of Coal India Limited (CIL). different depending on various household level characteristics. A
Although more than 27,000 acres of land (both private and group level analysis is unlikely to capture such household level
government land including forest land) have already been diverted factors adequately. In order to capture these aspects, the present
for these mines, affecting more than 15,000 households, attempts paper reports findings from the household survey along with focus
are being made to facilitate further acquisition of land to group discussions.
accommodate proposed mining projects.4 The land use pattern
in the area has changed considerably over the years (Table 1). 3. Review of the literature
While land used for non-agricultural purposes has increased
manifold during 1992–93 and 2008–09, the amount of land with The adverse impacts of mining on the stock of natural capital of
trees, crops and groves has also declined considerably. All of these an economy are multifaceted. There is evidence of mining causing
factors, along with an increase in uncultivated fallow land (old and environmental damage (Crispin, 2003), defacing vast terrain due to
current), have contributed to the decline in the net sown area. low recovery of resources (Heemskerk, 2001), being linked with
health hazards (Hota and Behera, 2015) and having adverse socio-
2.2. Methodology, data collection and sampling strategy cultural impacts in local communities (Kitula, 2006). Some of the
specific adverse ecological consequences of mining include loss of
The study was two-part: (i) a comparative analysis between the biodiversity (EAMR, 2013) and forest cover (Wani and Kothari,
mining and the non-mining districts, with a focus on the six major 2008), depletion of non-renewable resources, transformation of

3 5
For details, see the official website of Directorate of Mines, Government of The six major mining districts of Odisha include Angul, Jajpur, Jharsuguda,
Odisha. URL: = Ghome Kendujhar, Koraput, and Sundargarh. These mining districts are selected on the
Office of the Block Development Officer (BDO), Talcher (as on April, 29, 2012). basis of studies by Mishra (2010) and Mishra and Hota (2011).

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experience of mining regions in Odisha, India, Extr. Ind. Soc. (2016),
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cultivable land into waste land (Li, 2006), air and noise pollution studies (e.g. Vasundhara, 2005; Khatua and Stanley, 2006) have
(Ghose and Maje, 2003), and carbon emission and climate change sought to analyze the cumulative environmental impact of mining
(Bjureby et al., 2008). and mine-based industries at the local level. However, this body of
In the Indian context, it has been found that mining causes literature has failed to adequately explore households’ resistance
alterations in land use patterns, a displacement of existing against to acquisition. How have local perceptions of ecological
livelihood practices, decline in forest cover, degradation of natural consequences influenced resistance to land acquisition for mining
resources, pollution in different forms, contamination of water in Odisha? Cataloging the widespread environmental and ecologi-
bodies, and hazards to human health (CSE, 2008; Vasundhara, cal consequences of mining helps to frame intervention/adaptation
2005). In Odisha itself, mining has also reportedly been responsible strategies.
for water contamination (Mishra, 2009), local air and water
pollution (Hendryx, 2015; Chaulia, 2003), changes in land-use 4. Environmental impacts of mining in Odisha
patterns and soil quality degradation (Singh et al., 2010), lower
productivity (Mishra and Pujari, 2008), a decline in water resources Odisha is broadly divided according to 10 agro-climatic zones
(Reza and Singh, 2010), large-scale diversion of forest land (Behar (Fig. 1). The state has modest to highest levels of climate change
et al., 2005), and having adverse health effects on livestock (Das, vulnerability in several pockets (TERI, 2003). The Status of
1995). Impacts are significant particularly for the local environ- Agriculture in Odisha (1985) report shows that flood, drought,
ment and the livelihoods of forest dependent communities (GoO, and cyclones with varying intensity are regular phenomena in the
2013). state. Such frequent occurrences of natural calamities limit
The potential adverse impacts on the environment may not be a agriculture-based livelihood opportunities. In particular, a combi-
primary reason behind peoples’ resistance to land acquisition, nation of extreme weather events has caused significant crop loss
particularly for landowners. However, they can drive other (GoO, 2015). More importantly, a large part of Odisha is not suitable
stakeholders who largely depend on various ecosystem services for farming. With agro-climatic conditions being not so conducive
for their livelihoods to resist. The possibility of loss of livelihoods and irrigation facilities being limited, cropping intensity and the
following land acquisition can drive these people to protest. extent of crop diversification have been limited. For example,
Possible adverse impacts on cultural traditions and beliefs have irrigation intensity in the state (30.9 percent) is far below the
also culminated in protests against land acquisition in some of the national average (44.3 percent) (GoO, 2015).
tribal-dominated areas of Odisha. For example, in the case of
Vedanta Alumina Limited’s proposed bauxite mining project at 4.1. Changes in natural resources
Niyamgiri hills in Kalahandi district of Odisha, one of the key
reasons behind the protests of local inhabitants (mostly tribal In the mining districts of Odisha, forest cover has changed over
groups) was their belief that the forest is the abode of Lord Niyam the years. The largest portion of forested land diverted to mining
Raja, and that their culture would be severely affected if it is taken took place in Kendujhar and Sundargarh (Table 2). These two
away from them. districts together accounted for 60 percent of the total forest land
Although some studies have dealt with depletion of non- diverted for mining in the state during 2005–2010. Such diversion
renewable resources, carbon emissions, and climate change of forest land for mining may reduce the scope of collection of
following mining (e.g. CSE, 2008; Jena, 2008), the issues addressed forest resources for livelihood for a large section of the dependent
are largely general and perception-oriented in nature. Other population.

Fig. 1. Agro-climatic Zones Map of Odisha.

Source: Centre for Environment Studies, Department of Forest and Environment, Government of Odisha.

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Table 2
Forest cover in the mining districts of Odisha.

District Proportion of Forest Land Diverted to Mining (2005-10) (%) Share in Total Forest Land Diverted to Mining in Odisha (2005-10) (%)
Angul 2.63 9.44
Jajpur 16.37 5.01
Jharsuguda 21.44 7.86
Kendujhar 12.21 40.44
Koraput 3.35 6.14
Sundargarh 4.74 18.98

Source: MoEF (2015).

Table 3
Changes in the level and use of ground water in mining and non-mining districts of Odisha.

Ground Water Resources Sectoral Use of Ground Water (%) Stage of Ground Water
(HaMa ) Development (%)

Irrigation Domestic and Industrial

c d
2004 2011 Chg. 2004 2011 Chg. Avg. 2004 2011 Chg. Avg. 2004 2011 Chg. Avg.
Angul 86673 46077 46.8 78.4 78 0.5 78.0 21.6 22.0 1.7 22.0 17.5 34.5 97.1 28.3
Jajpur 58999 56933 3.5 81.7 92.1 12.8 88.4 18.3 7.91 56.9 11.6 35.8 48.7 35.8 42.5
Jharsuguda 17266 16791 2.8 70.5 69.7 1.2 69.6 29.5 30.3 2.9 30.4 22.4 30.7 36.7 27.3
Kendujhar 132284 81323 38.5 79.5 81.1 2.0 80.3 20.5 18.9 7.9 19.7 13.3 28.6 115.5 22.5
Koraput 82135 69117 15.8 38.7 49.6 28.2 45.6 61.3 50.4 17.8 54.4 6.65 9.79 47.1 8.6
Sundargarh 92077 77325 16.0 68.4 72.9 6.6 71.6 31.6 27.1 14.3 28.4 15.4 22.1 43.9 19.5
MDsb 469434 347566 26.0 69.5 73.9 6.3 72.2 30.5 26.1 14.4 27.8 18.5 29.1 57.0 24.8
non-MDs 1631494 1321348 19.0 74.1 77.3 4.3 75.8 25.9 22.7 12.4 24.2 17.9 27.6 54.1 23.7
All-Odisha 2100928 1668914 20.6 73.2 76.6 4.7 75.1 26.8 23.4 12.8 24.9 18.1 27.9 54.7 23.9
MDs refer to mining districts.
Refers to quantity in hectare meter.
Refers to the percentage change between 2004 and 2011.
Refers to average for the years 2004, 2009 and 2011.Source: MoEF (2015).

Table 4
Extent of water pollutiona in mining and non-mining districts of Odisha.

pH Total Coli Form (TCF) Chemical Oxygen Demand COD (mg/l) Conductivity (mho)
2002 4 2010 12 Chg. 2002 4 2010 12 Chg. 2002 4 2010 12 Chg. 2002 4 2010 12 Chg.
Angul 7.6 7.9 4.0 1611.4 4891.2 203.5 8.7 15.59 79.8 136.8 393.1 187.4
Jajpur 7.6 7.9 3.3 3073.0 4721.6 53.6 13.0 11.55 11.2 178.7 400.2 124.0
Jharsuguda 7.6 7.8 2.7 2710.1 2301.6 15.1 NA 9.79 – 403.9 176.4 56.3
Kendujhar 7.5 7.8 3.9 3465.7 3466.0 0.01 7.0 10.59 51.3 116.0 166.8 43.8
Koraput NA 7.4 – NA 3320.1 – NA 12.40 – – 117.1 –
Sundargarh 7.6 7.7 2.2 5200.3 11135.4 114.1 6.1 16.49 170.4 180.6 980.1 442.7
MDs 7.6 7.8 2.9 3417.5 4972.7 45.5 6.8 14.2 108.4 203.2 372.3 83.2
non-MDs 7.7 7.9 2.4 6381.6 8715.1 36.6 16.8 21.6 29.0 2639.9 4582.6 73.6
All-Odisha 7.6 7.8 2.6 5191.7 7592.4 46.2 11.8 19.1 62.4 1688.1 3319.5 96.6
Refers to water from sources including rivers, tanks and wells.
Refers to the percentage change between 2002 and 4 and 2010–12.Source: MoEF (2015).

The mining districts also experienced a decline in ground water Table 4 shows the extent of water pollution according to five
level during 2004–2011; the decline has been particularly major indicators – namely, pH,6 total coli form (TCF),7 chemical
significant in Angul (Table 3). Although the ground water level oxygen demand (COD),8 and conductivity.9 The changes in water
has declined in the non-mining districts as well, the rate of decline pollution were calculated for the periods 2002–2004 and 2010–
is low as compared with the mining districts. Further, exploitation 2012. Although the average level of pH content in the mining
of ground water for various purposes is higher in the mining districts was slightly less than the neutral value in 2002-4, it
districts vis-à-vis the non-mining districts. The rate of extraction of increased considerably during 2010-12, particularly when com-
ground water for irrigation has also increased in these districts, pared in relation to what transpired in non-mining districts and
though their share is small when compared to the non-mining
districts. Use of ground water for domestic and industrial purposes
is also high in the mining districts. All of these factors have made 6
The pH value is a measurement of acidic nature of water. According to the World
the utilization of ground water in the mining districts higher, Health Organization, the pH value of drinking water should be between 7 and 8.5.
particularly in relation to the available water therein. More Total coliform (TCF) refers to a variety of bacteria, parasites, and viruses which
can potentially cause health problems if humans ingest them with drinking water.
importantly, the rate of ground water utilization in these districts 8
Chemical oxygen demand (COD) is the measurement of total chemicals
has also increased over time. (organics and in-organics) present in water (including waste water).
Conductivity is a measure of the ability of water to pass electrical current.

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Table 5 marginally, the minimum rainfall has declined substantially

People affected by fluoride and iron contamination in ground water.
(Table 8).
Habitations Population Existing studies on mining show that the impact of activities on
Angul 318 62328 local climate may vary depending on, inter alia, the location, forest
Jajpur 21 4628 cover and bodies of water. For instance, Sheil and Murdiyarso
Jharsuguda 40 9689 (2009) show that rainfall in mining regions is, indeed, influenced
Kendujhar 410 88593
by forest cover. While high rainfall occurs in continental interiors
Koraput 899 243115
Sundargarh 36 6031
due to near-continuous forest cover, deforestation can result in
MDs (avg.) 287 69064 more erratic rainfall. Empirical studies in Africa (Elsyam, 1987),
non-MDs (avg.) 222 59802 tropical America (Fleming, 1986) and in India (Padmavalli, 1976;
All-Odisha 235 61550 Soman et al., 1988) also reveal that rainfall patterns can change
Source: MoEF (2015). with a decline in forest cover. Changing climatic conditions,
coupled with air pollution, a decline in ground water level, and
the state as a whole. Among the mining districts, the pH level has increase in water contamination in the mining regions seems to
increased at a much faster rate in Angul. Although pH value in the have affected the health conditions of people adversely. The
mining districts is still within the permissible limits, its rapid rate average number of persons dying due to water and airborne
of increase is cause for concern. Further, mine drainage introduces diseases in the mining districts is higher than that in the non-
acids into a waterway. If the waterway is poorly buffered, the pH mining districts (Table 9). It is, therefore, necessary to examine if
content may reach toxic levels. Changes in the pH value in water such adverse ecological change drives people to resist land
are also critical to organisms, and they may die if it increases even acquisition for mining.
slightly. Changing pH value in a stream can also be an indicator of
increasing water pollution. 5. Ecological implications of mining at talcher: household level
With regards to the presence of TCF, although the average level experience
was less in the mining districts in 2010-12, it has increased
markedly over time, particularly when compared to non-mining 5.1. Household characteristics
districts. Angul was found to be severely affected by this; it
experienced the highest increase in TCF among the mining The socio-economic and demographic characteristics of the
districts. The COD level also increased considerably in most of sampled households are presented in Table 10. As can be seen, the
the mining districts. The extent of increase was particularly high in majority of the sample households are from backward communi-
Angul and Sundargarh. ties10 (50.7%) followed by scheduled castes (21.8%), general
Similarly, although the average conductivity of water is category (17.8%) and scheduled tribes (9.8%). A significant
relatively less in the mining districts, it increased at a high rate proportion of the population is in the age-group 16–35 years,
in these districts during 2002-12, a reflection of the abundance of and a large number of them are unemployed. The youth
chemicals dissolved into the water of the mining districts over unemployment rate (in the age group of 15–29) in particular is
time. This, coupled with fluoride and iron contamination in ground critically high (28.6%). While about 26% of people have no formal
water, has affected people adversely. More people and habitations education, around 60 percent have education up to the secondary
are affected by fluoride and iron contamination in ground water in level. According to Garada (2013), the major occupations of people
the mining districts than in non-mining districts (Table 5). in the region have changed considerably following mining.
Only a small share of the workforce is engaged in cultivation.
4.2. Changes in climatic conditions While MCL has provided jobs to 45.3% of the local households,
around 40% are engaged as wage laborers in the construction
Table 6 details the changes in rainfall and temperature during sector. Only around 2% of the local households are engaged as
the period 2000–2009. While the level of rainfall and temperature “daily” or “casual” wage earners in mines under contractors. They
are measured in terms of their maximum, minimum, and average largely fall under the category of project affected persons (PAPs)
values, the coefficient of variations are computed to highlight any who were sharecroppers, landless tribal members (including those
significant changes in climatic conditions. Applying regression, it who held traditional rights but not legal rights over land), or day
was found that the levels and fluctuations in rainfall and laborers at the time of land acquisition. As a result, they were not
temperature in the mining districts are not significantly different eligible for monetary compensation, rehabilitation, or regular jobs
to those reported in the non-mining districts (Table 7). in the mines. Since MCL has a limited scope for generating direct
The levels and variations in rainfall and temperature in Angul employment opportunities and provides employment only to
district during the period 1979 to 2009 are depicted using time- landowners, the rate of unemployment is found to be more
series data in Fig. 2. As can be seen, the maximum, minimum, and prominent (Fig. 3).
average level of rainfall have increased in the district during this However, people from the marginalized communities, in
period (Fig. 2a–c, respectively). Along with variations, the rainfall particular, do not find adequate jobs at the mines, compared with
has also become more erratic over the years (Fig. 2d). Further, people from higher castes, due to a lack of legal entitlement to land.
while the maximum temperature has increased (Fig. 2e), its Table 12 depicts a caste classification of the persons, men and
minimum level shows a declining trend (Fig. 2f), leaving the women, in the sampled households with jobs. As can be seen, the
average temperature by and large the same (Fig. 2g). The extent of combined presence of workforce from the GEN caste and the OBCs
variations in temperature has also increased over time (Fig. 2h). (85.1%) is predominant in MCL, as compared with the combined
Nevertheless, the rainfall patterns at Talcher block differ to share of the STs and the SCs (14.9%). With regards to the casual
those reported at the district level. While the maximum rainfall wage earners at the mines, the share of the backward community is
increased only marginally (Fig. 2a) at Talcher, its minimum level more or less the same as that of the higher castes. However, the
declined rapidly in the area (Fig. 2b). Overall, rainfall has become
more erratic at Talcher over the years (Fig. 2d). While the growth
rate of maximum and average rainfall at Talcher has increased This includes the disadvantaged socio-economic groups in India other than
schedule tribes and scheduled castes.

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Table 6
Rainfall and temperature in mining vis-à-vis non-mining districts.

Districts Rainfall (April/May to Sep/Oct) in mm Temperature (April/May to Sep/Oct) in degree Celsius

Average (2000–2009) Average (2000–2009)

Max Min Avg. CV Max Min Avg. CV

Mining Districts Angul 489.55 17.27 188.87 0.92 33.28 25.57 29.52 0.10
Jajpur 465.40 23.31 208.91 0.79 32.12 27.15 29.70 0.06
Jharsuguda 440.51 4.85 176.56 0.96 33.93 25.97 30.25 0.09
Kendujhar 397.61 27.77 190.47 0.72 30.95 24.15 28.00 0.08
Koraput 439.05 18.37 196.07 0.82 29.66 23.29 26.46 0.09
Sundargarh 434.58 5.67 178.34 0.94 33.45 22.95 29.41 0.13
Average MDs* 444.45 16.21 189.87 0.86 32.23 24.85 28.89 0.09
Non-MDs 487.08 16.45 198.56 0.89 32.30 25.95 29.15 0.08
All Odisha 477.45 16.39 196.60 0.88 32.29 25.70 29.09 0.08

Source: Indian Meteorological Department, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India.

However, in many cases, procedural delays were observed in

Table 7 the case of the third category. There is no mechanism available for
Results of ANOVA for variables relating to climate change.
the concerned people to take stock of whether such category jobs
Measure Intercept Dummy F R2 are available. There is a strong presence of information asymmetry
Rainfall and elite capture. Clause 4 refers to project affected people without
Maximum 487.08** 42.63 1.64 0.06 any property rights. Given the limited forward linkages mining has
Minimum 16.45** 0.24 Neg. Neg. with other economic activities at the local level, coupled with a
Average 198.56** 8.69 0.70 0.02
weak informal sector and the lack of necessary capabilities of the
Coefficient of Variations 0.89 0.03 0.25 0.01
Temperature project-affected people, efforts aimed at generating self-employ-
Maximum 32.3** 0.07 0.02 Neg. ment opportunities are likely to be constrained. On the other hand,
Minimum 25.95** 1.11 2.63 0.09 there is evidence of quick disbursement of compensatory benefits
Average 29.15** 0.26 2.63 0.09 and other rehabilitation and resettlement packages, including
Coefficient of Variations 0.08** 0.02 1.38 0.05
employment for relatively affluent households, which suggests
indicates significance at 5% level. elite capture.
While about half of the households have no land holding, a
quarter of them have land only up to 1 acre. A significant section of
inclination towards manual works either at mines or in the the households (46.2 percent) are in the lowest income range (i.e.,
construction sector is generally less among the higher caste people INR 1, 00,000 or less). A sizeable proportion of households (34.6
vis-à-vis the backward STs and SCs who constitute about 32% of the percent) are also in the high income range. The pair-wise
total population. The same is true for the wage earners in the correlation coefficients show statistically significant association
construction sector where the combined share of the STs and the across variables relating to household characteristics (Table 11).
SCs (48.1%) is reasonably high. The desperation for work at the
mines is visible in many of these communities which had earlier 5.2. State of land acquisition and peoples’ perception
been excluded access to other benefits from mining due to their
lack of rights over land and/or necessary capabilities. Yet people Concerning the state of land acquisition, Table 13 shows that
from such marginalized communities do not find jobs at mines due out of the 143 sample households which relinquished their land, 48
to their lack of their access and bargaining power. From anecdotal (33%) were forced to do so and 22 (15%) did so voluntarily. For the
evidence gathered from the field, people from neighboring states balance, land was acquired through mutual discussions. During the
are hired as mine laborers, depriving the local inhabitants of data collection phase, issues relating to the adverse impacts of
livelihood opportunities. Be it non-farm activities, services or mining on water quality and availability, forests and air were
education, the community is seen to have a marginal presence in explained in detail to each of the respondents. It was observed that
this coal mining region of Talcher. while a lack of provision for compensation or jobs (largely due to
However, a matter of greater concern is that even when people legal disputes on property rights) discouraged many of the
are eligible for employment, MCL either made them wait households from giving up their land, the perception of possible
inordinately on account of procedural delay or denied them adverse impacts on ecology appears to be an important factor for
employment due to lack of ownership rights. Some of the basic resistance against land acquisition (Table 14).
features of MCL’s employment policy are as follows: Adverse ecological consequences may be very important
factors, particularly for those who considerably depend on and
1. It provides employment to one member from each family, have free access to various natural resources for their livelihoods.
sustaining loss of dwelling houses, homestead land, and Households’ unwillingness to give up land could also be a result of
agriculture land not less than one-third of the total holding ownership disputes over land and possible adverse effects on
on priority basis. agriculture. Possible threats to agriculture-based livelihoods are
2. One member from a family having sustained loss of 3 acres of likely to be of major concern, particularly for those who lack the
non-irrigated land is provided employment with “second necessary capabilities to be absorbed in other sectors. In addition,
priority”. past experiences in terms of failure of earlier initiatives to include
3. One member from a family sustaining loss of homestead land or the land-losers/sharecroppers/others in the mining-based devel-
total agriculture holdings is provided employment “according to opment process have also motivated at least a quarter of the
availability”. population to protest against land acquisition (Table 14).
4. The rehabilitation of other affected households is made through
self-employment schemes.

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Fig. 2. Level and Variations in Rainfall and Temperature in Angul District, Odisha.
Source: Indian Meteorological Department, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India.

The potential adverse environmental impacts of mining as the

dominant cause of resistance against land acquisition is further
Table 8
Growth rate of temperature and rainfall in Angul and Talcher (1979–2014). reinforced in Table 15. A large section of the sample households
conceive that mining results in deforestation and pollution to a
Angul Talcher great extent. About a quarter of the respondents are of the opinion
Rainfall that mining is responsible for the spread of chronic and various
Maximum 5.25 0.21 occupational diseases to a fairly large extent. Moreover, a sizeable
Minimum 3.43 2.90
Average 4.79 0.22
section of the sample households believe that mining contributes
Standard Deviation 5.16 0.18 to loss of biodiversity and aquatic life, albeit to a more reasonable
Source: Indian Meteorological Department, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government
Household level experiences, therefore, suggest that the various
of India. The growth rates are computed by the authors.
adverse environmental consequences of mining pose threats not
only to the sustainability of the development process but also to

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Table 9 6. Summary and conclusion

Incidences of death due to water and air-borne diseases in Odisha (2002–2004).

District Water-Borne Air-Borne Focusing on the case of Odisha, a major investment destination,
Average for the Mining Districts 27 38 especially for mining, and consequent protests against land
Average for the Non-Mining Districts 21 27 acquisition for projects, this paper sought to (a) examine the
All Odisha Average* 23 29 effects of mining on the environment of the mining districts, and
Source: MoEF (2015).
(b) understand whether adverse ecological consequences have
driven people to resist land acquisition. The study found that
environment and ecology are likely to be more adversely affected
the livelihoods of those who depend on various ecological services. in mining districts than non-mining districts. These impacts are
Many of the households seem to have opposed land acquisition, most visible in the areas of ground water utilization and pollution.
depending on their perceptions about ecological and livelihood Although there are no significant differences in the levels of, and
related outcomes of mining. fluctuations in, rainfall and temperature at the district level, there

Table 10
Household characteristics.

Number of Person Percentage Share

Distribution of Sample Households by Caste Category
ST 22 9.8
SC 49 21.8
OBC 114 50.7
GEN 40 17.8
Total 225 100

Distribution by Gender Group (for total persons covered)

Male 581 53.5
Female 505 46.5
Total 1086 100

Distribution of Sample Age Group (for total persons covered)

Age Group
15 years and below 243 22.4
16–35 years 452 41.6
36–60 years 313 28.8
61 years and above 78 7.2
Total 1086 100

Distribution of Sample by Unemployment Rate*

Age group 15–59 years 79 16.8
Total persons 471
Age group 15–29 years 56 28.6
Total persons 196

Distribution of Sample by Level of Education

No formal education 260 25.6
Primary (I–IV) 169 16.6
Middle (V–VII) 141 13.9
Secondary (VIII–X) 306 30.1
Higher Secondary (XI–XII) 99 9.7
Graduation and above 42 4.1
Total 1017 100

Distribution of Sample Households by Major Occupation

Casual labor in mines 04 1.8
Service at MCL company 102 45.3
Wage labor in construction 90 40.0
Farmer/farm labor 04 1.8
Business/Non-farm 16 7.1
Service (Govt./Pvt.) 09 4.0
Total 225 100

Distribution of Sample Households by Range of Land Holding (acres)

No land 112 49.8
0–0.48 40 17.8
0.48–1 13 5.8
Above 1 acres 60 26.7
Total 225 100

Distribution of Sample Households by Range of Income (INR)

Up to 1,00,000 Low 104 46.2
1,00,000–2,30,000 Moderate 43 19.1
2,30,000–4,50,000 High 46 20.4
4,50,000 and above Very High32 14.2
Total 225 100

Source: Primary Survey.

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Fig. 3. Level and Variations in Rainfall in Talcher Block, Odisha.

Source: Indian Meteorological Department, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India.

Evidence that adverse ecological consequences limit house-

Table 11
Pair-wise correlation coefficient of variables that depict household characteristics. holds’ willingness to give up land for mining has important policy
implications, particularly when it comes to addressing the
interests of stakeholders other than the landowners and make
TI 1 the development process sustainable. First, mining has the
ST 0.19a 1
potential to facilitate forward vertical linkages and hence facilitate
SC 0.18a 0.17a 1
OBC 0.03 0.53a 0.33a 1
greater inclusion, given the lack of capabilities, information
EMP 0.68a 0.11 0.27a 0.03 1 asymmetry and institutional constraints. For example, only
LH 0.13 0.12 0.19a 0.05 0.01 1 3.72% of total aluminum produced by NALCO’s Angul unit is used
MWAG 0.27a 0.04 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.08 1 within Odisha. It acquired 4001 acres of land, which affected
AYS 0.58a 0.13a 0.23a 0.01 0.48a 0.12 0.17a 1
people from as many as 39 villages, but provided employment to
FS 0.42a 0.04 0.01 0.08 0.18a 0.01 0.18a 0.39a 1
only 25.46% of the total affected persons (Samal, 2012). Hence, the
Significant at 5% level of significance. shipping of minerals to other places is likely limiting the sector’s
Refers to household total income. potential contribution to inclusive development. It was found that
Refers to whether any member of the household received employment in MCL,
a refers to current land holding of the household, b refers to share of members in economic integration between mineral resources and other sectors
the working age group (15–59), g refers to average years of education, d refers to has accelerated the development of many of the national
family size. economies (Leaming, 2007; Cristobal and Biezma, 2006), along
with greater well-being of local community (Ejdemo and
Soderholm, 2011; Pasco’-Font et al., 2001).
were more variations in rainfall observed at the block level. There However, enhanced vertical integration can pose a further
is also evidence of air pollution, decline in ground water level, and threat to local ecology and natural resource-based livelihood
increase in water contamination, which have affected the health practices. Thus, there is a trade-off between inclusiveness and
conditions of local people adversely. The incidences of death due to sustainability in mining-based development initiatives, and
water and air borne diseases are also higher in the mining districts. balancing the two is a challenging task for policymakers. Given
Importantly, households see these adverse ecological concerns as that a large number of investors are interested in setting up steel
important factors for their resistance against land acquisition. A and power plants around the vicinity of mines, such a trade-off
large proportion of them believe that mining has resulted in requires serious attention.
deforestation, pollution, and spread of diseases, which, in turn, has Outlining “well-defined” property rights over natural capital,
driven them to protest against land acquisition. It has thus including common pool resources and/or developing markets for
reinforced that the potential adverse effects of mining on the environmental services, would possibly help in better managing
environment are, indeed, a dominant cause for resistance against the adverse ecological consequences of mining. There is evidence
land acquisition for mining in Odisha. of efficient management of natural resources when property rights

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Table 12
Caste classification of the people in the sampled households with jobs.

Occupation Type ST SC OBC GEN Grand

Male Female Persons Male Female Persons Male Female Persons Male Female Persons
Casual labor in mines 01 (11.1) – 01 (11.1) 02 (22.2) 01 (11.1) 03 (33.3) 04 (44.5) – 04 (44.5) 01 (11.1) – 01 (11.1)
Service at MCL company 02 (1.2) – 02 (1.2) 19 (11.8) 03 (1.9) 22 (13.7) 80 (49.7) 01 (0.6) 81 (50.3) 55 (34.2) 01 (0.6) 56 (34.8) 161
Wage labor in construction 22 (16.8) 04 (3.1) 26 (19.9) 27 (20.6) 10 (7.6) 37 (28.2) 52 (39.7) 09 (6.9) 61 (46.6) 06 (4.6) 01 (0.8) 07 (5.3) 131
Farmer/farm labor – 02 (9.5) 02 (9.5) 02 (9.5) 05 (23.8) 07 (33.3) 07 (33.4) – 07 (33.4) 05 (23.8) – 05 (23.8) 21
Business/Non-farm 02 (7.1) – 02 (7.1) 02 (7.1) 01 (3.6) 04 (14.3) 17 (60.7) – 17 (60.7) 05 (17.9) – 05 (17.9) 28
Service (Govt./Pvt.) 03 (10.3) – 03 (10.3) 06 (20.7) 01 (3.4) 06 (20.7) 09 (31.0) 02 (6.9) 11 (38.0) 07 (24.1) 02 (6.9) 09 (31.4) 29
Student 01 (2.1) 01 (2.1) 02 (4.2) 05 (10.4) 03 (6.3) 08 (16.7) 13 (27.1) 09 (18.8) 22 (45.8) 12 (25.0) 04 (8.3) 16 (33.3) 48

Note: Figures in parenthesis refer to the percentage share in the total employed/unemployed/students.
Grand total is the sum total of persons across caste categories.Source: Primary Survey.

Table 13
Peoples’ perception of land acquisition.

Frequency Percentage Share

Manner in which compensation taken and/or given up land Forcibly 48 33.1
Mutual discussion 75 51.7
Voluntary 22 15.2
Total 145 100

Source: Primary Survey.

Table 14
Reasons for not giving up land.

Reason Frequency Total Households Percentage Share

Adverse effect on agriculture related livelihood 29 48 60.4
No job and/or compensation 40 48 83.3
Ownership disputes/property rights 27 48 56.3
Adverse impact on biodiversity and ecology 16 48 33.3
Adverse impact on natural resourcesa 38 48 79.2
Past experiences of nearby places 12 48 25.0
Othersb 11 48 22.9
Refers to damage to forests, water security and pollution of water bodies.
Includes factors such as political pressure, division within the community, etc.Source: Primary Survey.

Table 15
Peoples’ perception towards impact of mining on Environment (%).

Not at all Only to some extent Reasonably To a fairly large extent To a great extent Can’t Say Total
Deforestation – 24 (10.6) 64 75 62 (75.6) – 225 (100)
(28.4) (33.3)
Loss of Biodiversity 07 (3.1) 74 (32.9) 76 34 25 (11.1) 09 225 (100)
(33.8) (15.1) (4.0)
Pollution – 18 47 85 75 (33.3) – 225 (100)
(8.0) (20.9) (37.8)
Loss of Aquatic Life 46 (20.4) 98 (43.6) 50 21 05 05 (22.2) 225 (100)
(22.2) (9.3) (2.2)
Spread of diseases 08 (3.6) 48 (21.3) 68 58 43 (19.1) – 225 (100)
(30.2) (25.8)

Source: Primary Survey.

are assigned and collective actions are encouraged (e.g., Ostrom, require recognition and legitimacy with appropriate governance
1990; Baland and Platteau, 1996). However, considering that poor structures for their enforcement.
monitoring, rent seeking, lack of transparency and non-compli- In addition, collective actions are needed to enhance the
ance with the environmental regulations cause failure of the bargaining power for compensation and alternative livelihood
mining-based development process in India, property rights opportunities. Free access to information and culture of open
debate facilitates participative decisions (Vakkayil and Canato,

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