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Manufacturing Consent: Mining, Bureaucratic Sabotage and the Forest Rights Act in India
C. Choudhury,
Published in Routledge
Volume: 31
Issue: 2
Pages: 70 - 90
This article traces how substantive decision-making power over extractive projects is denied to India’s indigenous and forest-dwelling communities, even as they have clinched rights to ownership and consent under the landmark Forest Rights Act of 2006. By examining the consent mechanism provided under the act, we contend that the possibilities, and limits of such mechanisms are shaped by the larger architecture of the state-bureaucratic apparatus and practices that govern the process of transferring forests (“forest diversion” in bureaucratese) from rural communities to corporations. By analyzing a case of a forest diversion proposal for an iron ore mine in India’s resource-rich state of Odisha, we argue that consent provisions are derailed by “bureaucratic sabotage,” i.e. the power of corporations and state officials to control and manipulate the movement and circulation of documents through different tiers of government. In conclusion, we offer some thoughts on the weaknesses of the FPIC mechanism and the possible ways to address some of these. However, ultimately, the larger implication of such sabotage is the headlong collision between FPIC provisions and the principle of eminent domain. For FPIC to be meaningful, in India and globally, this fundamental contradiction must be confronted and resolved in favor of resource justice. © 2019, © 2019 The Center for Political Ecology.
About the journal
JournalCapitalism, Nature, Socialism