Empowering communities to ensure compliance

This article talks about how empowering people affected by impacts of industrial and infrastructure projects with relevant knowledge which can be used as a method to seek remedies within the framework of law.

@manjumenon says, “In many areas where companies are established, they have created their own fiefdoms of which the local administration is a part. This not only intimidates the local communities but also makes them vulnerable to harassment if they protest.

It goes on to say how there is a way, other than the usual mode of protests, available for the people in seeking remedies to address these impacts impacts.

The larger impact of this is best summed up by Alok Shukla of Janabhivyakti who says, “Earlier when people would come to us with problems, all we could advise them is chakka jam karo (block the roads). Now we have so many options; we feel strong.”

Through this methodology the affected people become active in collating evidence on violations and engaging with the administrative authorities. The article also mentions the challenges that are faced while using this methodology.

“The most emotionally-taxing part of the problem statement is the definition of expectations,” says @bharatpatel,our EJ Program Manager and who has years of experience of working with fishing communities on the Gujarat coast in India. He adds “In some cases, people have been protesting for so long that they are too tired to ask for clean up or anything of that nature. All they want is financial compensation. Or as happened in Mundra, they refuse to consider any solution other than the complete shutdown of the project which the government finds unacceptable.”

To read more:




This is yet another example of how a community was empowered to take action against non-compliance by a company. This article is written by @jayendrasinhker, an enviro legal co-ordinator working in the Saurashtra coast in Gujarat. He talks about his personal experience in this article, how he worked with communities in his region to get remedies from administrative authorities using the power of law. In this instance a company was not complying with certain environmental conditions, which led to the problem of “dusting” in the area.

To read more- http://blog.mylaw.net/biting-dust-community-action-stopped-polluting-refinery/

They residents of Dharampur clearly told us, “We have been living near the company and cultivating vegetables. But there is constant dusting and it is impacting the quality of the vegetables produced. “I learnt that it was because of this occurrence that farmers were not getting a good market price. I was not sure of the extent, but it was possible that it was also creating a public health concern for the entire farming community living around the company.



OK Tedi and previously Bougainville Copper Ltd had similar issues which will require further investigation but logistic funds prevents us from making substantive inroads, This involve riparian rights issues to tangle with. serihegame

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Recently using the legal empowerment method, we have succeeded in ensuring compliance of the JAROLI Railway siding in Keonjhar, Odisha.

In the Keonjhar district, there are 13 railway sidings. These railway sidings are essential to the transportation of various minerals. Minerals are brought to the railway siding from the various mines in Keonjhar and transported to various parts.

There was high level of dust and water pollution in the area surrounding this area due to the railway siding not following the conditions of Railway Siding Guideline 2010 & also Consent to Operate laid down for it. This was impacting the lives and livelihoods of the people. The dust from this siding would settle on nearby agricultural field and was affecting the production. Conditions like the transport vehicles should be covered, the approach road should be blacktopping/concretised, road side plantation, boundary wall across the siding etc were not followed.

The Enviro Legal Co-ordinator- Lalit, worked with the communities that were affected. Together they gathered the information from the government departments, studied the law and filed a complaint to the Pollution Control Board in the region. Continuous follow up was done after this. During one follow up visit to the Pollution Control Board (PCB), it was known that a site inspection was conducted by the PCB and directions were given to the siding.

Following are picture of the before and after of the railway siding.





Thank you @santoshdora for sharing this excellent success story. Congratulations! I like the before and after photos in particular - they really illustrates the success perfectly.

I was a little confused at first when you described “siding” which had me thinking of the siding on the structures at the train station. If I understand it right, the point you are making is that now wagons are covered and so not spreading dust and water pollution.

Are there now people in the community monitoring the trains and able to take photos should the wagons not be covered, and report that to the authorities?

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Thanks @tobiaseigen. I would like to clarify on siding.

Railway sidings in Mining area of Keonjhar district of Odisha are very close to railway stations where loading of minerals like iron and manganese are undertaking. Most of the iron and manganese (both raw and finshed products) transported to nearby plants and also paradip for shipping. Agriculture fields, habitations and institutions are both the side of railway siding. In non compliance of the Railway siding guideline-2010 and Consent to operate by the Railway, the nearby villagers were suffering dust and water pollution along with depletion of agriculture production.

In that juncture, Mr. Lalit, Environment legal coordinator with support of local communities filed complaint at Pollution Control Board on non compliances of conditions by Jaroli Railway siding. Based on public complaint, the iron and manganese transportation without covering tarpaulin has been stopped. Now the Railway wagons are covered with tarpaulin. The pollution control board also directed to Railway for construction drains, regular water sprinkling on roads, plantation in both side of the internal roads.

Now Villagers and Community partners of Jaroli village are monitoring the transportation activities in regular basis.


In this article below @Harapriya @santoshdora talk about the acute problem of dust pollution in the mining best of Odisha and the small efforts to bring about change. Thanks @krithikadinesh for working with them on this.



Great work and great article, @Harapriya and @santoshdora! Well done!

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Engaging the public to improve environmental compliance



Thanks, Kanchi, for sharing this very interesting article. To stimulate discussion here, can you share a few points raised in the article and how it contributes to this topic? :seedling: