MAC: Mines and Communities

India Update

Published by MAC on 2005-01-16

India Update

16th January 2005

INDIA UPDATE JANUARY 16 2006 : the destruction of construction; unearthing the truth at Kalinganagar - and beyond ; blocking bauxite in AP

Cement industry ‘green’ only when it suits its pocket, says Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) rating study

CSE rates the environmental performance of the Indian cement industry: 41 top producers -- 80% of the sector -- covered Finds the top players to be poor environmental managers; economics, and not environment, their sole consideration but finds that the sector has tried to clean up its act. Air pollution is lower and the industry is more energy-efficient than even its counterparts in Europe and the US recommends stringent regulatory regime for mine management and air pollution control.

New Delhi, December 16, 2005: The cement industry, the country’s second largest excise duty payer (after tobacco industry) and potentially very polluting, has been awarded the Three Leaves Award by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). This sector, which has major environmental impacts, has received higher marks than the three sectors rated previously by CSE – pulp and paper, chlor-alkali and automobiles. The top company -- Madras Cement Limited’s Alathiyur Works -- has been awarded the prestigious Four Leaves Award; it is the first plant in India to receive this award.

The sector has scored high because of the initiatives it has taken to reduce its air pollution and the fact that it is today one of the world’s most energy-efficient cement producers. But while the industry has earned credit for reducing energy use and pollution, it has been indicted for its bad mining practices. The fact is that the Indian cement industry spends as little as 4 per cent of its turnover on the cost of its raw material – limestone. The mining of this resource is leading to huge environmental problems, including the depletion of groundwater for local communities.

Market leaders bad

Worse, the rating finds that the market leaders are not the environmental leaders. Grasim Industries Limited of the Aditya Birla group, which has 22 per cent of the market share of this booming industry, was rated mediocre by CSE. The next biggest cement company, the prestigious Associated Cement Companies (ACC) Limited, now jointly owned by multinational Holcim and the Indian Ambuja Group, scored less than 35 per cent marks as a group. However, the group’s Gagal plant located in Himachal Pradesh saved the day as it was rated the third best plant in the country. The privately-owned India Cements Limited, the fourth largest cement seller in the country, was given the lowest rank. Global cement leader Lafarge could only manage the sixth position.

The rating

The ratings, the first of their kind for this sector, have been done by Centre for Science and Environment’s (CSE) Green Rating Project (GRP), and were released by eminent scientist Dr M S Swaminathan. The rating is a public tool to push industries to improve their environmental performance. In this rating, GRP selected 41 production plants of 23 major cement producers, spread over nine states of India. These companies represent about 80 per cent of the total production capacity in the country -- and their performance, therefore, is representative of the entire sector. The Gujarat plant of Gujarat Ambuja Cement Limited bagged the second spot, while the third spot was shared by three companies: J K Lakshmi Cement Limited, Prism Cement Limited and ACC’s Gagal Cement Works (see table: Environmental performance of Indian cement plants).

Good news: energy efficiency and global warming the rating has found that energy is the biggest production cost of the sector and Indian companies have done everything to reduce this cost. They have modernised their technology and have focused on producing more blended cement. According to GRP’s assessment, the Indian cement sector is (after Japan) the second most energy-efficient cement sector in the world.

GRP also found that the emission of carbon dioxide – which causes global warming – from Indian cement companies is significantly lower than European and American cement companies. "This is an important message to give out to the developed world, where the general feeling is that India is not doing enough to combat global warming," says Chandra Bhushan, head of the GRP and associate director of CSE. In industrial sectors, cement industry is the second largest emitter of carbon dioxide and accounts for 5 per cent of global human-made carbon dioxide emissions.

Fly ash: can help in waste management

The cement sector holds immense promise in terms of utilising wastes from other industries: fly ash (from the power sector) and blast furnace slag (from the iron and steel industry) are both used to manufacture blended cement, without sacrificing the quality of cement. The use of these wastes also enables cement companies to increase their profits. Consequently, about 53 per cent of the total cement produced in India is blended cement. Today, about 12 per cent of total fly ash generated in India is used by the cement industry.

"But the potential for utilisation is much more," feels Sunita Narain, director, CSE. "If all cement produced in India was to blend 30 per cent fly ash, the industry would utilise as much as 40 per cent of the total fly ash generated and solve a major waste disposal problem."

GRP also found that fly ash blended cement is suitable for most construction activities. But to compete in the market, industries want to sell their cement as "strongest and whitest" which then makes them discount the potential of using fly ash. "It is unfortunate that we are selling cement as a new cosmetic; this is making it more environmentally unfriendly," says Bhushan.

Bad news: very poor mining

The rating also had some bad news. The industry has performed poorly where it had no economic returns. "Cement industry’s better environmental performance in energy and waste utilisation is not because of environmental concerns, but because of better economic returns," adds Sunita Narain.

A major problem area of the sector, points out the GRP study, comes from the way it sources its raw material: mining limestone. GRP found major environmental problems due to poor mining practices of the cement industry. "Since all limestone mines are captive mines of cement plants and mining regulations are poor, cement industry is not investing in mine management," says Bhushan. In fact, the overall sector score for mining is only 24 per cent, compared to 50 per cent scores in areas in which the sector has done well, such as technology and energy use.

The regulations on the location of mines are so poorly implemented that many mines are located close to wildlife centuries and reserve forests. There is a rush to set up cement plants and mines in Himachal Pradesh. GRP found that 44 per cent of the mines it assessed were located in ecologically sensitive areas. Mines have breached groundwater table and led to acute water scarcity in some places. Understandably, local communities have been up in arms against the sector. "Lax and completely ineffective regulations are really to blame for this state of affairs," says Chandra Bhushan.

The study, therefore, recommends strong regulatory control over the sector.

To begin with, suggests Narain, regulators can do away with cheap mine leases and provide incentives for good mine management and disincentive for poor management. The economic benefits of mining must also belong to local communities, whose resources are exported by the sector, with little in return.

The GRP study points out that while the cement industry does not fit the definition of a "sustainable industry", an "acceptable trade-off" can certainly be proposed. What the study attempts to do is to benchmark the companies’ performance against such a trade-off.

If you have queries, please call or write to:
Monali Zeya Hazra or Souparno Banerjee at 9810098142, 29955124, 29955125, 29956110 and 29956394 / or

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"Ground Zero " for exploited Indian sandstone quarry workers

A recent report gives a shocking account of the inhuman living and working conditions of workers involved in sandstone quarrying in the state of Rajasthan in India. Child labour, bonded labour, exploitative wages, rampant occupational diseases like silicosis and bronchitus, alcoholism, as well as women's threathened livelihoods, are some of its main features.

The situation is reinforced by a local governance structure that is dominated by quarry owners and dominant 'high' castes while the workers are mainly dalits or 'low castes'.

The report also documents the environmental destruction caused by indiscriminate mining and waste disposal with negative effects on drinking water and cultivable land availability, water-, air-, dust- and noise pollution, local wildlife and biodiversity

''Budhpura Ground Zero'' starts with the following introduction:'

''This report, published by the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN), is the result of independent research into sandstone quarrying in Budhpura village, Bundi district, Rajasthan state, India.

The report provides information on the quarrying of natural stone in India in general and in Rajasthan in particular as a background to the specifics of sandstone quarrying in Budhpura village. It digs into the social, economic, and environmental impacts of quarrying for the local population, distinguishing between those who benefit most and those who hardly benefit. It turns out that huge profits are made in this business, but that those who do the hard work do not share in the generated wealth.

Budhpura village is the central focus of this study, but many of the findings apply to the entire natural stone production and export of Rajasthan. The choice for Budhpura as the main focus of this study was made since the Dutch town of Kampen has used sandstone from Budhpura for repaving its city centre. The report informs us that the export of sandstone to the Netherlands is considerable, and increasing.

In the context of its 'responsible business'- programme, the India Committee of the Netherlands, together with the Netherlands Society for Nature and Environment, is currently looking at the natural stone sector. ICN is attempting to engage the Dutch natural stone industry in dialogue and collaboration, in an effort to jointly address social and environmental issues associated with the production and processing of natural stone.''

We encourage you to give your comments to the report and provide any additional information you have on the effects of quarrying as well organized efforts to stop or remedy the negative effects.
Please feel free to put a link to the report on your website, use the report for articles and other publications and distribute (the link to) the report to anyone who might be interested.

The report ''Budhpura 'Ground Zero' - Sandstone quarrying in India'' can be found at:

Bonded labourers rescued from brick kiln

by Times of India

10th January 2006

RANCHI: Forty-four bonded labourers, including 28 children, who had been toiling away at a Ranchi brick kiln in return for nothing but food, have been rescued by police.

They were found on Monday night at the Isha brick kiln on the outskirts of Ranchi. Most of them hailed from Bilashpur district in Chhattisgarh. Of the 44 rescued, 28 are children. Most of the children are aged below 14.

Police have registered a complaint against Ram Kishore Mahto, the owner of the factory, who has gone under underground after police raided the kiln. Police took action after Videshi, a bonded labourer who was working in the factory, managed to escape and informed police about the plight of the others.
The labourers were brought here in October last year and since then had been confined to the brick kiln.

"We were lured with handsome payments in return for work in the factory. But we were only given food. Whenever we asked for money we were beaten black and blue. We were confined inside the factory and not allowed to go outside," said Bachchan Kumar, one of the rescued labourers.

"We will arrange for the safe return of the rescued labourers to their home state Chhattisgarh," said Deepankar Panda, sub-divisional magistrate.

The incident is not an isolated case. In Jharkhand, thousands of people work as bonded labourers, mostly in brick kilns and stone-crushing units.

Kalinganagar massacre Update

'Govt acting on the dictates of MNCs'

Statesman News Service

9th January 2006

The Kalinga Nagar police firing reflects the attitude of a government which is working on the lines of what had happened during the gold rush in the US where a "good Red Indian was a dead Red Indian" as here the government is acting upon the dictates of the MNC's in ejecting tribals, observed Mr BD Sharma, leader of the Bharat Jan Andolan.

Talking to reporters after visiting Kalinga Nagar for two days, Mr Sharma, a former bureaucrat, said shockingly there has been no land settlement in the area since 1928 and vast stretches have been declared deemed reserved forests without any concern for those living in the area.

It appears as though these people do not exist as far as the government records are concerned, he added.

Tribals who migrated to this forest region after 1866 famine from Sareikala, now in Jharkhand, still hold land in the name of their ancestors and the land acquisition taking place is all based on fake records, he alleged.

The ignominy of monetary compensation is meaningless for a tribal who blows it away within no time.

Referring to a Government of India guideline issued in 1974, Mr Sharma said it makes clear provision for an equal deal for all people falling in the zone of influence of the industrial and mining complexes and ensuring a place of honour on terms of equality in the new economy. Nobody seems to have bothered to even read this guideline, he decried. Citing instances of unrest at Kashipur and Keonjhar, Mr Sharma said Orissa is sitting on a veritable volcano and unless effective measures in terms of community ownership in industries were taken such violence and conflict will take place.

A high-power committee should be set up to recognise the claims of the unrecognised tenants and expose spurious claims and all people in the zones of influence must be assured a place of honour in the new economy, he said.

Mr Sharma met Governor Mr Rameshwar Thakur and discussed the problem with him yesterday.

Massacre and Mining / Kalinga Nagar: Before and After

Xavier Dias / ADHIKAR

6th January 2006

Once again our Adivasis relatives have been slaughtered. This time executed by the Orissa State at the behest of Industry. The Kalinga Nagar massacre on 2nd Jan cannot be seen in isolation, but as a serial killing of Adivasis for the growth of industry. If we accept this fact, then, we have to decide whether this is going to be the last episode of the serial or if we should prepare ourselves for further installments. We should also realise that the State, the mainstream ruling class, are not going to protect us from the next one and therefore we have to protect ourselves. Therefore if this serial killing of us Adivasis has to be stopped, then we have to look at all the episodes together, at least on those that we have information on: they make our history, and only in their context can we find our solutions. Therefore Kalinga Nagar or the next episode to come should not be seen as an isolated incident. Unless we give this a serious thought we cannot think of putting an end to this history of serial killings.

The Kalinga Nagar massacre has once again exposed the racist character of Indian mainstream society and its ruling classes and castes. For industry and the market economy, the Adivasi is a hindrance to be removed and done away with. In the civilized world and in the English language this is called genocide.

For this reason, too, the spontaneous united reactions and protests of Adivasi organisations and some mainstream groups have to be strengthened and every strata of civil society has to be used to expose the roots of this state- and industry-sponsored violence.

The mineral industry, the most important wing of capitalism, was born amid the bloodshed of innocent Adivasi people from the times of the Mahabharata, right through to the slaughter of hundreds of Adivasi nations in all the continents, including the massacre of over 25,000 Santal Adivasis by the East India Company during the Santal Hul (1855). It is also ironic that we are presently commemorating the 150 years of the Santal Hul and Kalinga Nagar has come lest we forget.

It is not only here in the Indian subcontinent that massacres prelude mining. After the arrival of Christopher Columbus in America in the 15th century, over 20 million of our Adivasis relatives were slaughtered for the making of the Americas. This includes USA, Canada and the nations of South American. Similarly after the arrival of Captain Cook in present-day Australia in the 18th century, our aboriginal relatives there were slaughtered for the formation of Australia and New Zealand. These massacres were so brutal and inhuman that the British conquerors would return from hunting Adivasis and boast to each other about how many they had killed, when back in their evening clubs. The Inca Adivasi nation is another sad example. It was one of the greatest and glorious civilisations so large that it occupied a region that comprises present day Mexico, Guatemala and the neighbouring countries. The Inca civilisation had to be totally destroyed in order for the conquerors to loot the gold and silver that they possessed. It was like killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

In our Jharkhand homeland, the world’s first iron makers, our Asur kinfolk, were uprooted from their lands in order to cut them off from their art of iron smelting. Very few of them were able to survive this onslaught, and today they are reduced to landless contract labourers in the bauxite mines of Palamau. Their traditional methods of making iron had to be destroyed in order for the Tata Steel Co. to be born. History is full of such incidents, even though mainstream historians have failed to record them in their factual context.

This character of the mineral industry and its economic system, capitalism, has not changed and the ruling class of India with the strength of its caste system leads the racist civilized world who treats Adivasis and their society as an overburden. This fact too stays hidden from history and the unfortunate part of it is that some of our non-Adivasi supporters and well-wishers find it difficult to interpret is as it is.

Therefore it is we first who have to bring these facts to our people and take concrete political steps so that they become a serious part of our mass collective consciousness. In Jharkhand some steps have been taken and two of them need to be highlighted. The government has decided to handover thousands of acres of our land to the big business houses for the construction of mines, industry and simillar mega projects. If this plan is realised then over 55,000 of our Adivasi people in Jharkhand alone will be displaced.

In response to this threat, and in the past six months those villages have formed Bhumi Suraksha Sangatans (Organisations for the Protection of Our Lands) that have to date successfully organized ‘Janata Curfews’ preventing any Government or mining company personnel from entering their villages. Reinforcing their collective decision, not to give an inch of land, which they say is not negotiable. A new resistance movement has been born. They have taken two strategically important decisions:

The first being not to give any more land to industry or to the government - ‘if we give land it will only be big enough for their graves’- and the second one is not to allow political party leaders (netas) to lead their various movements. ‘if you want to support us then make it a part of your parties policy and support us in the State Assembly or Parliament’. This important political step has proved so powerful that it has frightened the companies used to deal with netas to break up mass movements and bulldoze their way in.

This decision has handicapped industry and the state and together with the exposure of their violent character in Kalinga Nagar, they are desperately looking for exits through cover-ups. Added to this predicament they are further taken aback by the angry reactions from all Adivasi Organisations. The total bandhs in Orissa and Jharkhand on the 7th Jan, the economic blockade of the Mumbai – Howrah railway line for over 48 hours, the ongoing blockade at Kalinga Nagar and many other similar reactions have put the fright into them, and for this reason industry would like to see Kalinga Nagar put into the past and eventually erased from public memory. The Tata Co. (for whose Steel Plant the Orissa Police were clearing off the Adivasis that day) is particularly interested for this year begins the centenary celebrations of their entry in Jharkhand, a time when they would like themselves to be seen as patrons of the Adivasi cause.

In order to return to their previous position of freebooters, under which they prospered, they are today prepared to make some concessions, two of them being: a ‘better compensation package’ and a better ‘rehabilitation policy’. This is yet another trap for us to give up our lands.

In the past three weeks desperate attempts have been made to sell this trap to the Bhumi Suraksha Sangatans and the Adivasi people. Extremely worried that the industry’s profits will be affected, they are exploring all avenues that will get back to their pre-Kalinga Nagar times. The netas (political leaders), the media and some important Jharkhand intellectuals are being mustered in to sell to the Adivasis a compensation package better than the earlier one. In the coming days we will be seeing more lobbying, For this purpose conducting of conferences and seminars are being proposed to sell this idea, newspaper houses, social service institutions et al are being reined in.

In order not to get into this trap it is important for us to learn the history of the mineral industry, its penchant and necessity for massacre and the role of those who come to us in the makeup of sheep’s clothing but who are wolves underneath. Unfortunately some of them are our very own blood coming to us as ‘samjowtawadis’ (compromisers) It is therefore vital for us to realise that just as massacre and mining are two sides of the same coin, traps are being laid to hoodwink us where once we enter into it eventually amounts to giving up our lands.

Therefore all of us, especially our elders and the leaders of our movements, should realize that Kalinga Nagar or the Santal Hul or the killing of M Tirkey by the Bokaro police on 30th December, or the shooting of our Santal brothers in their homes in Nalla by the Jharkhand police should not be forgotten unless we get justice. We must study this trap and know well where all its wires lead. For this we have to understand who are, and what is happening behind our backs and over our heads.

The reality today is a battle ground between the Adivasis, the rightful owners of agricultural lands, the forest and the minerals beneath it, versus the owners of industry that have the full support of the state. In this battle if industry wins, we lose; if we lose it is our end, we will become like the millions of our relatives who are now ‘rejas and coolies’ (head loaders) in the mines and industries or we will have to continue to send more of our children to work as labourers in the fields of Punjab, the brick kilns everywhere or as domestic servants in the metro cities. If we are to survive such an ugly plight and survive as a society and culture with dignity, then this battle will be the decisive one. Giving up our lands means a sure death like that of rats and flies. There is no second alternative or path before us.

The good news and opportunity is that in this battle and especially after the Kalinga Nagar killings, industry has suffered a setback. They are now trying and desperately trying to recover from it. It is also a time for some of our opportunist leaders to put forward various analyses and alternatives. The wires web of wires in the trap. Some of them are.

? The present Chief Minister(s) who have signed this MOUs are responsible for our plight. How much truth is there in this view point? What will happen if the Chief Minister or the government changes? Are our state governments free to stop the greed of this demand for minerals and the march of capitalism and imperialism? In the new economic policies which our country has adopted, it is the market that is of prime importance and it is the economics of the markets that decide the political agendas. Therefore any individual or party that comes to us with the propaganda that they will not be like our present Chief Minister should be closely scrutinized. Put them under the microscope and see their past and history of performances. Like snakes they will enter our mind with promises of being better netas and then like chameleons change their colour once in the comfortable seat of power.

? The other analysis being put before us is that we Adivasis are too weak to fight the combined power of state and industry and therefore should “sit across the table, take what ever compensation we are given or later we may get nothing”. This alternative comes from a person who probably has no idea of the tremendous mass opposition to displacement that is taking place.

The alternative of submitting to the power of the rulers was also available before, at the time of the Santal Hul and Ulgulan Movement. But instead they opted to sacrifice their lives rather than surrender without a fight. Meek submission does not become the descendants of Hul Santhal, or Ulgulan or Bir Gangaram Kalundia. It is an alternative that we cannot accept.

? Yet another argument put forth is that the Adivasis are too ignorant to lead their movements and therefore it should be done by political leaders who have the experience. It is true that our village Adivasis may not understand many things that happen in the corridors of power but one thing they do understand is what will happen to them if they give up their lands. Therefore they do not need more intelligence to be firm on this decision they have taken. If there is more to know they also know where to get it from.

? Another analysis says that with the wealth of minerals beneath their lands the Adivasis can become rich; therefore they should negotiate with the Industry for a ‘partnership’ where they can share its wealth. Industrial mining in Jharkhand is now 150 years old, but can we name some Adivasis besides those who got permanent jobs who have become wealthy or obtained any benefit from this industry? If it did not happen in the past 150 years, how will this happen today? Most Adivasi who have land near forest and who have some irrigation are self sufficient the people have enough to eat and drink and live happily. If they want to improve on this present standard then would it not be better for them to improve their agricultural methords and fight for their control over the forest? In this way not only will their economy improve but their future generations too will have a guaranteed decent life.

We the people have to realise that our decision not to give an inch more of land for Industry and not to let the netas control our movements is a political step that is working and has strength because it has got Industry and the State worried. They should therefore be aware of those coming to them with alternatives that will trap them. Their only strength is to learn from history, understand their enemy, recognize who is on their side and keep the flag of resistance flying.

Ranchi. Jharkhand

Bauxite mining plan infuriates tribal belt in Vizag

Hindu Businessline / Visakhapatnam

11th January 2006

GIRIJANS in the agency (tribal) tracts of Visakhapatnam district are opposing the bauxite mining proposed to be taken up by the Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC) for supplying the ore to an alumina smelter to be set up by the Jindal group.

Several NGOs and the communist parties, the CPI(M) in particular, are carrying out a campaign against the State Government's move. They are educating the Girijans on the hazards of bauxite mining and mobilising them for a struggle against the project.

Beespuram, located amidst lush-green forests in the Anantagiri mandal of the district, is a tiny tribal hamlet with 45 families facing an uncertain future.

In a bid to persuade the Girijans, the Government officials arranged a trip for the locals to Damonjodi in Orissa to show them the progress made there after the National Aluminium Company (Nalco) set up an alumina plant. But the Girijans were not convinced.

"These hills are our lifeline. We depend on them for everything and eke out a living by collecting fuel-wood, neem, karakaya, amla and adda leaves. How can we think of losing all this?" asks Ms Korra Nookamma.

She is one among the 47 tribals taken from Beespuram to Damonjodi. "We were not taken in by such hospitality. We were perturbed when the tribals in Koraput told us that Nalco did not provide them jobs. Those who were displaced were not given suitable compensation," she said.

Ms Gemali Ramamurthy, another villager, said they were not lured by the promises of the authorities.

Mr M. Babu Rao of CPI (M), the Lok Sabha member from Bhadrachalam parliamentary constituency in which the area falls, says: "To circumvent the judgment delivered by the Supreme Court, the State Government is now trying to extract bauxite through the APMDC."

(The ruling was delivered by the apex court when a public interest litigation was filed by Samata, an NGO based here, in another case against the Andhra Pradesh Government. According to the ruling, the State Government should not lease out properties or assets in tribal tracts and it should undertake exploitation of such resources on its own or through co-operatives of tribals. Private (outside) parties should not be brought in. The CPI(M) alleges that the APMDC would only serve as a dummy of the Jindal group to provide the raw material.)

Más de 500 personas protestan por la muerte ayer de ocho manifestantes en enfrentamientos con la Policía



Cerca de 500 personas bloquearon una autopista en el este de India como protesta por la muerte ayer de ocho personas en un enfrentamiento entre la Policía y una multitud de personas que se manifestaban contra la construcción de una planta siderúrgica.

Los protestantes, algunos de los cuales portaban palos de manera, arcos y flechas, situaron cuatro de los cuerpos de los fallecidos en la carretera y demandaron que las autoridades castiguen a los agentes de policía que abrieron fuego contra los manifestantes.

Las autoridades han decretado un toque de queda indefinido tras los enfrentamientos del lunes en Kalinganagar, unos 60 kilómetros al norte de Bhubaneshwar, capital del estado de Orissa. La planta siderúrgica privará a los residentes de su tierra por lo que los manifestantes han asegurado que continuarán con las protestas hasta que el proyecto sea cancelado, indicó el portavoz del grupo, Babu Gagrai. 'No abandonaremos este lugar hasta que las autoridades detengan el proyecto', indicó.

Mueren ocho personas en enfrentamientos entre policías y manifestantes en el este de India



Ocho personas murieron hoy en el curso de un enfrentamiento entre la Policía y una multitud de personas que se manifestaban contra la construcción de una planta siderúrgica en el este de India, según un nuevo balance facilitado por las autoridades.

La Policía abrió fuego contra los manifestantes que habían comenzado a lanzar piedras y flechas contra los agentes. Como consecuencia de estos enfrentamientos murieron cinco vecinos y un policía en el acto. Posteriormente fallecieron dos de los heridos, según informó la PTI.

Los sucesos ocurrieron en Kalinganagar, a 60 kilómetros al norte de Bhubaneshwar, capital del Estado de Orissa, informó un portavoz de la Policía, Suchit Das.

Cerca de 500 miembros de una tribu local se congregaron para expresar su oposición a la decisión del Gobierno de permitir a una compañía privada la construcción de una planta siderúrgica. Los vecinos asesguran que la factoría les privará de sus tierras.

El enfrentamiento estalló cuando los manifestantes intentaron impedir que los trabajadores del grupo Tata, una de las principales constructoras de India, erigieran un muro de separación en el lugar en que estará la fábrica, informó Das a Associated Press.

El pasado mes de noviembre, los manifestantes bloquearon un intento anterior de los trabajadores de Tata. En este caso, las autoridades desplegaron cerca de 400 agentes de Policía para impedir actos similares, según Das.

Tras los disparos de la Policía, los manifestantes empezaron a replegarse. Según la Policía, los manifestantes pertenecían a la tribu Konbh, que vive sobre todo de la agricultura.

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