Gender in Coal Mining Induced Displacement and Rehabilitation in Jharkhand

Nesar Ahmad, Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Although coal is administered centrally in India by the Ministry of Coal, the government does not maintain reliable and comprehensive data on displacement caused by extraction of the resource. Most importantly, it is not possible to retrieve gender-segregated data from the meager records available. Often, mining displaced communities (DPs, also known as project-affected people or PAPs) are treated as a homogeneous and unitary group, without attention to the diversity within these communities. However, many new open-cut coal mining projects exclude indigenous people, especially women, from the social and economic benefits they produce, whether it is due to a lack of skills, to a lack of formal education, or to a lack of ownership and control over land and water. The social and gendered consequences of specific mining projects vary with local circumstances, but the common features in India include pauperization: the impoverishment of communities and the feminisation of that poverty. Physical removal from the original place of residence – primary dislocation – is the most critical among the various social impacts, and has complex outcomes and is immediately visible and measurable; displacement from access to local natural resources and resource-based traditional occupations occurs imperceptibly over a longer duration of time and leads to the complete destruction of livelihood bases (Basu 2000). Displacement has an undermining influence on social bonds and cultural roots of the entire community, with devastating and disruptive effects on the lives of women, who often operate at a subsistence level. The economic and socio-cultural consequences of displacement are traumatic. When communities are forced to leave the land that they have lived on for generations, they not only lose farming land, but are also deprived of the forests, waterways, springs and grazing lands on which their lives were dependent. The social bonds that existed between individuals are ruined, and there is often a lack of trust in rehabilitation colonies among those who have been displaced and resettled. However, there is yet another process at work – that of the inevitable secondary displacement, with its short and long-term impacts, such as the loss of commons, decay of agriculture,and displacement of peasantry, eroding the livelihood bases of the community. As communities are burdened with negative impacts such as the loss of traditional livelihoods, environmental degradation, and social and economic instability after mine development, the gender dimensions of livelihood reconstruction become an important area of inquiry for comparison and learning (Mallik and Chatterji 1997).
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Coal Nation: Histories, Ecologies and Politics of Coal in India
    Editors Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt
    Place of PublicationFarnham, UK and Burlington, USA
    PublisherAshgate Publishing Ltd.
    ISBN (Print)9781472424709
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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