Raipur:Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel assured the tribals of preserving Madanpur village and adjoining forest areas as tribal delegation under banner of Hasdeo Aranya Bachao meet him late Wednesday evening.
Following the meeting with Governor Anusuiya Uikey, hundreds of tribals, who had come to the state capital all the way from Surguja, Korba and Jashpur after covering 300 km distance on foot, met with Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and acquainted him with the crisis created in the Hasdeo Aranya areas following notification regarding land acquisition for mining.
Referring to their problems, the delegation of tribals urged the Chief Minister to put a stop to illegal land-acquisition processes for mining projects. The tribals reminded the Chief Minister about Rahul Gandhi’s assurance to preserve the area during his visit to a chaupal organised in Madanpur village. Chief Minister assured the tribal delegation that he is determined to preserve the Madanpur village and its adjoining forest areas where Rahul Gandhi had met them in 2015 and promised to stand by the tribals in their struggle. It is noteworthy that Madanpur village and its adjoining forest areas are affected by two mining projects – Giddhmudi Paturia and Madanpur South – where land acquisition notification was issued recently.
The Chief Minister also heard the tribals’ complaint regarding Parsa coal mine and a fake resolution passed by Gram Sabha and asked for an investigation in the case and appropriate action against those guilty.
Earlier, the tribal delegation under the banner of Hasdeo Aranya Bachao and led by environmentalist Alok Shukla and Umeshwar Singh Armo, met with the Governor Anusuiya Uikey who, in turn, assured the tribals of all possible help in getting back their rights and the protection of forests.
These tribals had reached the capital on October 13 after starting their journey on foot from Madanpur village of Surguja district on October 4. For the last decade, the Gond, Oraon, Pando and Kanwar tribal communities residing here are struggling to save Hasdeo Aranya, the delegation told the Governor. The 20 Gram Sabhas of the Hasdeo Aranya region have been consistently opposing the coal mining projects by passing a unanimous resolution in exercise of the powers conferred by the Fifth Schedule, PESA Act 1996 and the Forest Rights Recognition Act 2006. The padyatra of tribals thet reached Raipur aimed to protect the Constitutional rights (Fifth Schedule, PESA Act, Forest Rights Recognition Act), save the Hasdeo-Aranya area, public protest against mining projects and the resolution of Gram Sabhas, and plead for justice.
Hasdeo Aranya region and important points….
The Hasdeo Aranya forest area, located in the Surguja and Korba districts of Chhattisgarh, is counted among the richest, biodiversity-rich forest areas of Central India, which is often considered as of “Lungs of Chhattisgarh”. Although this area was declared a no-go area in 2010, coal mines have been allocated on a large scale, due to which the clouds of destruction of this entire area are constantly hovering. This area is also a catchment of Hasdeo river and Bango dam, which irrigates about 3 lakh hectares of bi-cropped land in Janjgir-Champa district. This entire area comes under the fifth schedule where all the provisions of PESA Act 1996 and Recognition of Forest Rights Act 2006 are applicable. According to the recent Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) report, the Hasdeo forest area will suffer irreversible damage due to coal mining, which is difficult to compensate. The study also mentions the ecological importance of Hasdeo and the escalation of the elephant-human conflict with mining.
\Major demands of Hasdev Bachao Padyatra
• All coal mining projects in Hasdeo Aranya area should be cancelled.
• All land acquisitions made under the Coal Bearing Act 1957 without the consent of the Gram Sabha should be cancelled immediately.
• In the fifth scheduled areas, the provision of taking mandatory consent from the Gram Sabha before the land-acquisition process by any law should be implemented.
• The forest clearance obtained by making a fake proposal for Parsa coal block should be cancelled immediately and FIR should be registered against the officer and the company who made the fake proposal of the Gram Sabha.
• Community forest resources and individual forest rights should be recognized in all villages while restoring the revoked community forest rights of Ghatbarra.
• PESA Act 1996 should be followed.