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

Around 350 other people from tribal communities of 30 villages in Chhattisgarh’s Sarguja and Korba districts were strolling for the remaining 9 days to succeed in state capital Raipur. The march — of greater than 300 km — is to sign up their protest towards 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 the vital 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 achieve Raipur and search conferences with Governor Anusuiya Uike and Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel with their calls for.

The villagers were protesting towards the continuing and proposed coal mining tasks in Hasdeo Aranya area, which they are saying threaten the wooded area ecosystems — the state’s “lungs”. The area is wealthy in biodiversity and is catchment house 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, in spite of their protests, six coal blocks were allotted within the area, of which two have turn out to be operational for mining: Parsa East and Kete Basan (PEKB) block, and Chotia-I and -II block.

Another block — Parsa — has gained wooded area and surroundings clearance, whilst villagers alleged that land acquisition procedure started with out gram sabha consent. The protesters mentioned land acquisition has additionally begun with out consent of grama sabhas in 3 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 below Section 7 of Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957, giving 1000’s of villagers within the area a 30-day length to publish objections, if any, over rights on any parcel of land. On February 8, Union Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi mentioned the ministry gained greater than 470 objection letters, together with the ones from the state govt. Joshi mentioned that below the 1957 legislation, there is not 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, alternatively, mentioned repayment isn’t 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 way of the Adani Group as Mine Developer and Operator (MDO) with Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited (RRVUNL); and Chotia block is mined by way of 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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