The Chhattisgarh government on Saturday, 26 March, approved Rajasthan government’s plan to undertake the second phase of mining in the Parsa East and Kente Basan Coal Block (PEKB) in 1,130-hectare area of the Hasdeo Aranya forests in the state, as reported by Indian Express.
The project was approved a day after Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot took a flight to Raipur to meet with his counterpart Bhupesh Baghel in this regard. The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change has cleared the mining project.
The Rajasthan government owns the PEKB coal block in Hasdeo Aranya forest area in Chhattisgarh’s Surguja district.
"Officially established procedure will be followed in supplying coal to Rajasthan. We will not compromise with environment & rights of tribal people in the state," Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel was quoted as saying by ANI.
Phase II of Coal Mining
In January, the Environment and Forest Ministry permitted Mining and Development operator, Adani Enterprises Ltd, to mine in the second phase of this area.
The Phase I of mining in PEKB, which had a validity of 15 years, was allegedly exhausted within just eight years.
In October last year, around 350 tribals from Chhattisgarh’s Surguja and Korba villages had marched 300 km in 10 days to protest against the coal mining projects which they alleged were ‘illegal’ land acquisitions.
The march started from Fatehpur, in Ambikapur of Surguja district to Raipur and met with Governor Anusuiya Uikey and CM Bhupesh Baghel with their demands.
The villagers had claimed that the proposed coal mining projects in Hasdeo Aranya region threatens the forest ecosystems – the state’s “lungs”. The forest area is rich in biodiversity and is a catchment area for Hasdeo and Mand rivers, which irrigate the northern and central plains of the state.
(With inputs from Indian Express and ANI.)