Raipur, Jul 26 (PTI) The Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed a private member resolution urging the Centre to cancel allocation of all coal mining blocks in the ecologically sensitive Hasdeo area in the northern part of the state.
MLA Dharmjeet Singh of the opposition Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) moved the resolution seeking a halt to coal mining in the Hasdeo-Arand region, saying such activities will ruin its rich biodiversity and destroy dense forests.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had visited Madanpur village in the area (ahead of 2018 assembly polls) and assured he will fight for local tribals opposing coal mining.
Coal mining would trigger a human-elephant conflict in the area and also destroy its sprawling dense forests, Singh said while moving the resolution.
He asked the Congress government in the state to take up the matter with the Centre and stop mining activities in the region.
During the discussion, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said the Centre decides whom a coal block should be allocated.
“(Some) People are misleading the state government in this regard. Chhattisgarh has declared 1,995 sq km area there as Lemru Elephant reserve and demanded the Centre halt allocation of coal mines there,” he said.
The CM, however, maintained that currently the main source of power generation is coal.
BJP legislator Ajay Chandrakar said the state government should cancel the no objection certificate (NOCs) given for the mines.
After the discussion, the resolution was unanimously passed in the Assembly.
Talking to reporters in the Assembly premises Baghel said the private member resolution urging the Centre to cancel allocation of coal blocks in the Hasdeo Arand region has been passed in the House.
“It was the state government’s intention from the beginning and we worked in that direction with seriousness. Under the previous government (referring to BJP rule), the elephant corridor was 450 sq km but it was not even notified.
“Our government notified 1,995.48 sq km as Lemru elephant corridor in 2021. The Centre allocates coal blocks and grants clearances pertaining to environment and forest… keeping in view of public sentiments, we have urged the Centre in the non-official resolution today that no coal blocks should be allocated in the Lemur elephant corridor,” he added.
The Chhattisgarh government had granted permission for non-forestry use of 841.538 hectare of forest land for the Parsa mine (Surguja and Surajpur districts) and 1,136.328 hectares for PEKKB phase-II mine (Surguja) after Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot met his Chhattisgarh counterpart Baghel here in March this year seeking to clear hurdles in development of the coal blocks allotted to Rajasthan.
After continuous protests by local villagers, the Chhattisgarh government halted all proceedings regarding three upcoming coal mine projects allotted to the Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited (RRVUNL) in the area in June.
The Hasdeo-Arand coalfield, spread over 1,878 sq km area in Korba, Surguja and Surajpur districts in northern part of the state, is located about 300 km from Raipur. The region is called ‘lungs of Chhattisgarh’ for its rich forest. PTI TKP RSY RSY
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