Mining in Hasdeo Aranya will adversely impact biodiversity of North Chhattisgarh

Mining in Hasdeo Aranya will adversely impact biodiversity of North Chhattisgarh

Raipur: Keeping in view the adverse impact on the biodiversity of North Chhattisgarh due to mining in Hasdeo Aranya area and sudden spurt of human-elephant conflict, the dense forests of Surajpur, Surguja, and Korba districts were declared ‘no go’ for mining in 2010.

The entire Hasdeo Aranya area should be declared protected area and excavation activities should be banned with immediate effect. The central government should allot coal blocks to the companies at other places and the Chhattisgarh government should ask the Rajasthan government to demand coal blocks from other states.

Despite the ‘no go’ area, Parsa East Kete Basan (PEKB) Coal Block was allotted to Rajasthan Electricity General Corporation by former Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh at the request of the then Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in 2012.  Dr Raman Singh made this allotment by persuading the Central leadership. Rajasthan Electricity General Corporation has a lifetime agreement with Adani Company for this PEKB Mines. As per the agreement, Rajasthan company is getting coal from its own block on market rate or more than this while Adani company is capturing 15-20 per cent coal on the pretext of mining rights and reject and these coals are being sold in the market. This agreement has cost dearer to the consumers of Rajasthan.

Moreover, the entire area comes under Schedule-5 and is surrounded by dense forests on the water catchment area of the Hasdeo river. If mining is allowed here then it will badly damage the biodiversity of North Chhattisgarh besides rising in human-elephant conflict. The region will not receive adequate rainfall due to deforestation for mining activities. The soil will be deposited at Hasdeo Bango Dam which will have an adverse impact on the capacity of the dam.

There are a number of coal blocks between Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and they are not allotted to anyone. If Rajasthan demands coal blocks allotment in Madhya Pradesh then it can save about Rs 400 on the transportation of each ton of coal, but Rajasthan chief minister, under the influence of Adani company, demanding permission for coal blocks situated on the left and right sides of PEKB Mines Parsa and Kete extension blocks.

Significance of Hasdeo Bango Mininata Dam

Only 38 per cent of the total agricultural land of Chhattisgarh is irrigated due to the major contribution by Hasdeo Dam and Gangrel Dam. While the capacity of Hasdeo Dam is 3000 million cubic meter, the capacity of Ravishankar Shukla Gangrel Dam is 1000 million cubic metre. 80 per cent land of Janjgir district is irrigated by Hasdeo Dam.

NGT, ICFRI, WII reports ignored

National Green Tribunal (NGT) had rejected the excavation in Hasdeo Aranya and asked to study the questions raised by the Indian Council of Forest Research and Education (ICFRE) and Wildlife Institute of India (WII), but both the state government and the state government did not pass any order to study these questions. As a result, an application was submitted in the Supreme Court which ensured the study of the reports on Hasdeo Aranya. Unfortunately, the report was ignored and mining was allowed in the ‘no go’ area of Hasdeo.

Therefore, the entire Hasdeo Aranya area should be declared a protected area, and excavation activities should be banned with immediate effect. The central government should allot coal blocks to the companies at other places and the Chhattisgarh government should ask the Rajasthan government to demand coal blocks from other states.