India’s coal mining ambition hurts indigenous group, Amnesty says – by Rina Chandran (Reuters India – July 13, 2016)

MUMBAI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – India’s drive to ramp up coal output to meet growing energy needs has resulted in members of the Adivasi tribe being displaced from their ancestral lands and forced to wait years to be resettled, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.

The global human rights group said the Adivasi had suffered disproportionately from India’s push for coal. One in six of the 87,000 Indians who have been displaced over the past 40 years by state-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL) is Adivasi, Amnesty said.

Laws to protect vulnerable communities such as indigenous groups are poorly implemented and regularly flouted, it said. “Adivasi communities, who traditionally have strong links to land and forests, have suffered disproportionately from development-induced displacement and environmental destruction in India,” Amnesty said in a report.

“The domestic Indian legal framework does not fully recognise the rights of indigenous peoples,” it said.

Coal accounts for more than 60 percent of India’s electricity capacity, and the government plans to nearly double annual coal output by 2020, opening a new mine nearly every month.

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