Submitted memorandum to the District Collector, addressing the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, Bhupesh Baghel.
It was the 18th day of the Hasdeo Bachao Andolan on Tuesday and thousands of people of Bilaspur city took part in a rally in support of save the forest campaign. Earlier, the people gathered at Lal Bahadur ShastriSchool Ground at 3 pm and reached the collector’s office in the form of a rally in a disciplined manner to submit a memorandum addressing the Chief Minister.
The people of Bilaspur demanded from Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel ji that the permission given to the coal blocks in the area of Hasdeo Hasdeo Aranya should be canceled. The people of Bilaspur said that this fight is not only for the residents of Hasdeo area rather this fight is for all the citizens of Bilaspur and Chhattisgarh. If forests of Hasdeo are destroyed, then a large area of Bilaspur, Katghora, Korba and Janjgir Champa will be affected.
The groundwater level of this area will be affected and crisis will deepen in arranging drinking water supply. Monsoon cycle will be disturbed and millions of hectares of agriculture land will be affected.
In the memorandum, the people of Bilaspur demanded from the the government to accept the demands of the people. Kiranpal Singh Chawla, Prakash Sonthalia, Chandrapradeep Bajpai, Satram Jethmalani, Rajesh Khare, Dr Rashmi Budhia, Dr Manish Budhia, SandeepGupta, Rakesh Khare, Amit Vasudev, ShreyanshBudhia, Sanjay Ayal Singhani, Gandhiji Ankit JitendraKamvisdar, Mohd Hasan Rizvi and Pradeep Narangwere present in the rally.
The memorandum to the Chief Minister
Hasdeo Aranya is a rich forest area of Central India. Besides a habitat and migratory corridor of 21 important wildlife of category 1 and full of biodiversity, many species of fauna and flora are present in this forest area. Hasdeo, made up of small water streams, is the lifeline river of Chhattisgarh. Millions of hectares of forest land in four districts are irrigated by the Minimata Bango dam, built in the name of the first woman MP of Chhattisgarh.
Along with controlling the monsoon, the entire Hasdeoforest area is the source of water for cities like Bilaspur. If forests are damaged for mining it will lead to the depletion of Hasdeo and there will be a serious water crisis in Bilaspur district.
In the year 2010, the Union Ministry of Forest Environment and Water, Climate Change had declared the entire Hasdeo Aranya as NO GO area, keeping it free from mining due to environmental sensitivity of the area. This area was only 11 percent of the total coal bearing area of the country.
The Violet in Violet policy was formulated in the year 2014, in which only 7 percent of the total coal bearing area of the country is In Violet.
On August 13, 2020, the Government of Chhattisgarh decided to secure the entire catchment area of HasdeoAranya to ensure Lemru elephant management, environmental balance and availability of water.
On September 30, 2020, the state government invited proposals from the affected gram sabhas covering 3827 square kilometer by including Parsa, Tara and Keteextension coal block in Lemru to control the human elephant conflict, secure the entire catchment of Hasdeo.
On January 19, 2021, Chhattisgarh Mineral Resources Department wrote a letter to the Ministry of Coal and objected to the process of land acquisition.
It is clear from the above-mentioned decisions, the Central and State Governments wanted to protect the Hasdeo River catchment area, to protect the eco-sensitive forest area and control the human elephant conflict and keep the entire Hasdeo Aranya mining-free. But due to the interest of corporates, the state government compromised with its commitments made earlier and granted permission for mining.
For the last decade, Hasdeo’s tribals have been agitating to save their water, forest and land in a constitutional and democratic way and now the public sentiment of the state has been associated with Hasdeo. The andolan is gaining support at the international level, the reason behind which is the obvious reason that it is necessary to maintain a forest like Hasdeo for life in this terrible period of climate change.
All the residents of Bilaspur urged the Chief Minister that in the federal structure, all rights are reserved with the state government, the land is completely a state subject and the state government also takes the final decision of diversion of forest land for any project. The forest permission of Nandraj mountain has been revoked after being proved to be a fake gram sabha, similarly the state government can save Hasdeo by revoking the forest permission of Hasdeo Aranya’s coal mining projects.