With the beginning of fresh allotment of coal blocks by the Centre, villagers of North Chhattisgarh, the area which is rich in coal reserves, have intensified their protest against the move.

As many as 17 gram sabhas, falling under Hasdeo-Arand coalfield, have passed a resolution opposing the reallotment of coal mines and have written to higher authorities seeking dialogue on the issue. “We won’t allow any mining activity in our villages and forests. Through this resolution we have urged both the Centre and state government to neither allocate coal blocks to public sector undertakings nor to private players,” Umeshwar Singh Armo, Sarpanch of Mandapur panchyat of the region, told PTI.

Hasdeo-Arand coalfield, spread over an area of 1,878 sq kms over Korba, Surguja and Surajpur districts in north Chhattisgarh, is located about 300 kms away from the state capital. Of the total area, 1,502 sq km area is under biodiversity-rich forest cover. The coalfield has total estimated reserves of 5.1709 billion tonne.

Around 30 blocks have been identified so far in the region, of which 16 were allocated to various public sector and private players but their allocations was subsequently cancelled following the Supreme Court order. Mining is operational in 3 blocks – Chotia by Prakash Industries, Parsa East and Kete Basan by a joint venture of Adani group and Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited. “Without taking consent of gram sabhas, government has once again listed coal blocks of our region for fresh auctioning and allotment. It is violation of our rights,” Armo said. Read more

Courtesy: dna