• Tribal communities and coal in Northeast India: The politics of imposing and resisting mining bans

    Dolly Kikon, Duncan McDuie-Ra (see profile)
    Environmental Humanities, Sociology
    Environmental sociology, India, Natural resources, Sociology
    Item Type:
    Natural resource sociology
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    Bans on coal mining have been implemented in two tribal majority states in India's north-east frontier; Nagaland and Meghalaya. In Nagaland the state government imposed the ban in an attempt to capture control of coal extraction and trade, while in Meghalaya India's National Green Commission imposed the ban over concern for the environment and labour conditions. In both cases local communities have opposed the bans, and in some areas resumed mining under the authority of tribal councils and powerful civil society actors. In this paper we explore the politics of coal extraction that resulted in these bans and the response of communities and authorities. In doing so we made three main arguments that contribute to understanding of coal and communities in frontier regions where state control is partial and the legacy of armed conflict is powerful. First, in both locations the majority of the coal mining activity has been initiated and managed by members of tribal communities rather than profit-driven outsiders. Second, in contrast to other contexts in India (notably Orissa and Jharkhand) where large state or private enterprises seek to modify the law to enable coal extraction, in Nagaland and Meghalaya it has been communities that resent and challenge state and national laws being applied to their lands. Third, the right to extract coal is connected to the right of tribal communities to determine what happens on their lands.
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    Last Updated:
    6 years ago
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