28 Dec 2023

Chhattisgarh: Controversy Surrounding Tree Cutting in Hasdeo Arand Forest Intensifies

Tree felling has commenced for the extension of Parsa East and Kete Basan (PEKB) phase-2 coal mines situated in the biodiverse Hasdeo Arand region of Chhattisgarh's Surguja district, under the protection of police security. Those protesting against the coal mining activities in the Hasdeo area were reportedly detained by the police as activists voiced their concerns.

The Opposition Congress brought up the matter in the state Assembly, accusing the BJP government of showing favoritism towards industrialists. In response, the local administration asserted that it possesses all the necessary permissions for the tree felling, while police officials claimed to have advised some locals against creating a law and order situation.

Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai, addressing reporters in the Assembly complex, acknowledged opposition to deforestation but stated that no arrests had been made. The forest department initiated the tree felling for PEKB phase 2 in the Udaipur development block of Surguja district on Thursday morning, with police personnel deployed for maintaining law and order. According to a district administration official, the required clearances have been obtained.

Last year, the state government granted permission for the non-forestry use of 1,136.328 hectares of forest land for the PEKKB phase-II mine (Surguja), allocated to Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited (RRVUNL). 

Officials noted that the first phase of mining on 762 hectares of land in the PEKB block, allocated to RVUNL in 2007, commenced in 2013 and has been completed. Local villagers, organized under the Hasdeo Arand Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, have been protesting the allocation of these mines for several years.

Previous attempts by the forest department to initiate tree-cutting for the PEKB phase 2 coal mine faced strong opposition from local villagers, leading to a suspension of their actions. Alok Shukla, Convener of Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan (CBA), a prominent force in the protest against the coal mine allocation, expressed disappointment stating that it is unfortunate for the state government to begin tree felling for PEKB phase 2.

No comments:

Post a Comment