Chhattisgarh assembly passes resolution, says cancel coal block allocation | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Chhattisgarh assembly passes resolution, says cancel coal block allocation

Jul 27, 2022 11:28 AM IST

There are five coal blocks in Hasdeo Aranya area including Parsa, Parsa East Kete Basan (PEKB), PEKB Extension, Gidhmuri Paturia, Madanpur South and Chotia

RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed a private member resolution urging the central government to cancel all coal blocks in Hasdeo Aranya forest area.

Tribals and activists have been opposing coal mining in the Hasdeo Aranya forests, saying it will damage the biodiversity of the region
Tribals and activists have been opposing coal mining in the Hasdeo Aranya forests, saying it will damage the biodiversity of the region

There are five coal blocks in Hasdeo Aranya area which include Parsa, Parsa East Kete Basan (PEKB), PEKB Extension, Gidhmuri Paturia, Madanpur South and Chotia.

Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) MLA Dharmjeet Singh moved the resolution seeking to stop mining in Hasdeo Arand area and said that mining will ruin its rich bio-diversity and dense forest.

Singh said that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had visited Madanpur village in the area (ahead of assembly polls) and assured that he will fight for tribals.

“The mining in the area would trigger human-elephant conflict in the area and if mining starts it will destroy dense forest. I urge the state government to take up the matter with Centre and immediately cancel the mining projects,” said Singh.

During the discussion, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said that Centre allots coal blocks and it decides to whom the block should be allocated.

“People are misleading that state government takes decision in this regard. Chhattisgarh has declared 1995 sq km area thee as Lemru Elephant reserve had demanded the Centre to halt allocation of mines there. Presently the main of power generation is coal. But we extend support to private member resolution,” the CM said.

Further, the BJP legislator Ajay Chandrakar said the state government should cancel no objection certificate (NOC) given for the mines.

After discussion, the resolution was unanimously passed in the assembly.

Tribals in the Hasdeo Arand have been protesting against mining activities in the region for the past decade.

In June, three mining projects in Chhattisgarh’s Hasdeo Arand forest have been indefinitely put on hold amid protests by residents and environmental activists over felling of trees in the biodiversity-rich and ecologically sensitive area.

“The Chhattisgarh assembly resolution is clear that it has asked the Centre to cancel the allotment of all the coal blocks in Hasdeo Aranya forest area. While the non-producing ones should be immediately cancelled and producing ones PEKB and Chotia may be cancelled giving some reasonable time like six months as by Coal Block Cancellation judgment by Supreme Court,” said Sudeip Shrivastava, the Chhattisgarh based lawyer who is fighting against the allotments in SC.

The Hasdeo Arand coalfield, spread over 1,878 square kilometers in Korba, Surguja and Surajpur districts in the northern part of the state, comprises 23 coal blocks. In 2009, the Union environment ministry had categorised the region as a “no-go” zone for mining but later changed its tune as the policy was not “finalised”.

Elephants have a significant presence in the region throughout the year, and are an important part of a large migratory corridor. The forests here are the catchment of Hasdeo River – Mahanadi’s largest tributary – which is critical for the flow of the perennial river.

It is also the watershed of Hasdeo Bango reservoir, and thus, critical for the irrigation of three lakh hectares of double-cropped land in the “rice-bowl” state.

Alok Shukla, convener of Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan which has been conitinously protesting against the coal block allotment in Hasdeo area said that the state government should first cancel the final forest clearances given to the two coal blocks of the Hasdeo area.

“ Now when a resolution has been unanimously passed in the state assembly, the state government should first withdraw the final Forest Clearance ( FC) for the second phase of Parsa and Parsa East Kete Basen ( PEKB) coal blocks as it was granted despite the opposition of the Gram Sabhas. Further, the central government should respect the House and residents of Chhattisgarh and decisions of constitutional Gram Sabhas by canceling the allocation of all the coal blocks allotted in Hasdeo Aranya,” said Shukla.

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