Chhattisgarh: 300-km march to avoid wasting state’s ‘lungs’ from mining

Around 350 individuals from tribal communities of 30 villages in Chhattisgarh’s Sarguja and Korba districts have been strolling for the final 9 days to reach state capital Raipur. The march — of greater than 300 km — is to register their protest in opposition to coal mining tasks, and what they allege is “illegal” land acquisition.

“If we don’t walk now, our children will have nowhere to live,” Shakuntala Ekka, one of many protestors marching to Raipur from Madanpur mentioned.

The march from Fatehpur, in Ambikapur of Sarguja district, began on October 3. It is predicted to finish October 13, when the protesters reach Raipur and search conferences with Governor Anusuiya Uike and Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel with their calls for.

The villagers have been protesting in opposition to the continuing and proposed coal mining tasks in Hasdeo Aranya area, which they are saying threaten the forest ecosystems — the state’s “lungs”. The area is wealthy in biodiversity and is catchment space for Hasdeo and Mand rivers, which irrigate the northern and central plains of the state.

According to Hasdeo Aranya Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, a joint platform of protesters from the 2 districts, regardless of their protests, six coal blocks have been allotted within the area, of which two have change into operational for mining: Parsa East and Kete Basan (PEKB) block, and Chotia-I and -II block.

Another block — Parsa — has acquired forest and setting clearance, whilst villagers alleged that land acquisition course of started with out gram sabha consent. The protesters mentioned land acquisition has additionally begun with out consent of grama sabhas in three different blocks: Kete Extension, Madanpur South, and Gidhmudi Paturiya.

“Governments — both at the Centre and in the state — have been going against people. For environment clearance in Parsa, forged documents and wrong information has been submitted to the ministry,” Umeshwar Singh Armo, a number one member of the Samiti, alleged.

On December 24, 2020, the Centre had issued a notification underneath Section 7 of Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957, giving hundreds of villagers within the area a 30-day interval to submit objections, if any, over rights on any parcel of land. On February 8, Union Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi mentioned the ministry acquired greater than 470 objection letters, together with these from the state authorities. Joshi mentioned that underneath the 1957 legislation, there isn’t any “provision regarding any consent from Gram Sabha”.

“Valid compensation under regulations of The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 and Chhattisgarh Ideal Resettlement policy 2007 will be paid,” he had mentioned.

Protesting villagers, nevertheless, mentioned compensation is just not sufficient. “Money and our homelands are not equitable; any amount eventually ends but our homes have been here for years,” Armo mentioned.

Of the 2 operational mines, PEKB is being mined by the Adani Group as Mine Developer and Operator (MDO) with Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited (RRVUNL); and Chotia block is mined by Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (BALCO) of the Vedanta Group. Parsa and Kete Extension blocks had been allotted to RRVUNL with Adani Group because the MDO, and Gidhmuri Paturiya block to Chhattisgarh State Power Generation Company Limited, with Adani Group as MDO.

Madanpur South block has been allotted to Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation, with Aditya Birla Group as MDO.


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