Published online by Cambridge University Press: 06 November 2020
Chapter 2 investigates the proposal for a new thermal coal mine in Chhattisgarh, Central India. The proposed mine is located in an emerging coal-mining region that feeds power stations mainly for industry. The mine would destroy forested lands and displace a large number of villages populated by Indian indigenous Adivasi people. The proponent for the mine, Adani, is a major privately owned industrial conglomerate seeking the coal to fuel its industrial concerns. The national government strongly favours expanded coal extraction, and the mine forms part of its privatization effort, designed to stimulate the sector. Within civil society there is strong village-level opposition to the mine, with concerns centred on land and livelihood. Alliances of villages opposing the mine find allies at the regional level and are able to disrupt regional politics; they also are able to make legal claims at the national level, and link with national and international environmental NGOs. Arguments for sustainable energy gain momentum especially when there are viable renewable alternatives. The struggle is skewed by coercion, with anti-mine campaigners subjected to surveillance and arbitrary detention by Indian state security.