Tribals are doing 300 km padyatra against ‘illegal’ mining in Hasdeo Aranya

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This foot march started on October 3 from Fatehpur in Surguja district’s Ambikapur. In this, about 350 people from tribal communities of 30 villages are involved, who will meet the Governor and Chief Minister in Raipur with their demands. These villagers are opposing the ongoing and proposed coal mining projects in the Hasdeo forest area, saying it threatens the state’s forest ecosystem.

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Protesters march 300 km on foot against ‘illegal’ coal mining in Hasdeo Aranya. (Photo Credits: Twitter/@alokshuklacg)

New Delhi: Around 350 people from tribal communities from 30 villages in Chhattisgarh’s Surguja and Korba districts have been walking for the last nine days to reach state capital Raipur.

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This foot march of more than 300 km is being done as a demonstration against the coal mining project. He has accused the acquisition of land in an ‘illegal’ manner.

According to the Indian Express, the march started on October 3 from Fatehpur in Ambikapur in Surguja district. The yatra is expected to end on October 13. On this day the protesters will reach Raipur and will hold a meeting with Governor Anusuiya Uikey and Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel regarding their demands.

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These villagers are opposing ongoing and proposed coal mining projects in the Hasdeo forest area, which they say threaten the state’s ‘lung’ forest ecosystem. The region is rich in biodiversity and is the catchment area for the Hasdeo and Mand rivers, which irrigate the northern and central plains of the state.

According to Hasdeo Aranya Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, a joint forum of protesters from the two districts, despite their protests, six coal blocks have been allotted in the area, of which two have been opened for mining.

Another block- Parsa- has got forest and environment clearance. Regarding this, the villagers have alleged that the process of land acquisition was started without the consent of the Gram Sabha. The protesters said that in three other blocks – Kete Extension, Madanpur South and Gidhmundi Paturia – land acquisition has also started without the consent of the gram sabhas.

Umeshwar Singh Armo, a key member of the committee, alleged that forged documents were used for environment clearance in Parsa and wrong information was given to the ministry. He said that both the central and state governments are going against the people in this matter.

On 24 December 2020, the Central Government had issued a notification under Section 7 of the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957, giving thousands of villagers in the area 30 days to prove their claim, if any, on the land. time was given.

On February 8 this year, Union Coal Minister Prahlad Joshi said that the ministry has received over 470 objection letters, including letters from the state government. Joshi said that under the 1957 Act “there is no provision for taking approval from the Gram Sabha”.

“Valid compensation will be paid under the rules of the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 and Chhattisgarh Model Rehabilitation Policy, 2007,” he had said.

However, the protesting villagers say that the compensation is not enough. Armo said, ‘Money and our motherland are not the same. No matter what the amount, one day it will end, but our houses have been here for years.

Of the two ongoing mines, PAKB is being mined by the Adani Group with Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited (RRVUNL) as Mine Developer and Operator (MDO). Chotiya block is mined by Bharat Aluminum Company Limited (BALCO) of Vedanta Group.

The Parsa and Kete Extension blocks were allotted to RRVUNL with Adani Group as the MDO. Similarly, Gidhmuri Paturia block was allotted to Chhattisgarh State Power Generation Company Limited with Adani Group as MDO.

Categories: India, Special

Tagged as: Adivasis, Bhupesh Baghel, Chhattisgarh, Congress, Environment, Hasdeo Arand, Hasdeo Arand forests, News, Parsa Coal Block, PESA Act, Sarguja

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