Villagers in Mahan forests area of Singrauli district celebrated the Centre’s decision to not allow mining in the Mahan coal block, environmental NGO ‘Greenpeace’ said on Monday.
The Mahan Sangharsh Samiti (MSS) activists tore the proposed land acquisition amendments bill, buried it and planted a Mahua sapling on top marking the triumph of people, the statement added.
“This day has arrived after a lot of hardship and struggle. Forest rights activists have been jailed, threatened and bullied, whenever they raised their voice to save the forests of Mahan. It is due to our efforts that the government has agreed not to auction Mahan for mining. We urge the authorities to recognise our community forest rights claim under the Forest Rights Act,” Kripanath Yadav, a Mahan Sangharsh Samiti member, said.
The festivities began with the villagers offering prayers to their village deity, Deeh Baba.
“The victory of the people of Mahan is a victory of democracy. But there are several other challenges that the people of the country face. The proposed land acquisition amendments bill threatens to displace several village communities in the name of development,” Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai said.