New Delhi. The Chhattisgarh High Court has taken a tough stand on the allotment of Parsa coal block and felling of trees in its name. The Division Bench of the High Court has questioned whether the trees can be revived. The court has asked the state government to submit a report on the felling of trees for the private company. The next hearing of the case will be on May 4.
Mangal Sai, Thakur Ram, Motiram, Anand Ram, Panik Ram and others filed a petition in the High Court stating that the Parsa coal block mine affected them. Here, the private companies will mine the coal block for Rajasthan Electricity Board. For this reason, the land acquisition process like Coal India cannot be adopted.
The Coal Held Areas and Development Act 1957 cannot be used in the interest of any state government company and especially private company. For 60 years from 1957 to 2017 no land has been acquired in the interest of any state government and private company by using this act. The Act has been used only for Central Government companies, Coal India etc.
The private company and the government have violated the procedure laid down in this Act for acquisition of coal-held land. Objections under Section 8 of the Act have not been properly disposed of. The entire area is covered with dense forest and is an elephant affected area. Allowing mining will further increase the human-elephant conflict. One lakh trees will be cut there.
The stay application and amendment application in the petitions were to be debated on Thursday, but due to non-availability of the division bench of Chief Justice Arup Kumar Goswami, the hearing was held in the bench of Justice Gautam Bhaduri and Justice NK Chandravanshi. Senior advocate Rajiv Srivastava and advocate Sudeep Srivastava, appearing for the petitioners, said that although the Coal Bearing Act has been challenged in the petitions.
The advocates said that after acquiring land in the name of Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam, land is being handed over to a private company. This itself is against the provisions of the Coal Bearing Act and the judgment of the coal block by the Supreme Court. In such a situation, no work related to the Parsa coal block can be taken forward. The petition has also urged for an immediate ban on felling of trees.
Arguing for Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam and Rajasthan Colli, senior advocate Nirmal Shukla said that the company did not cut the trees but by the forest department. The mine has all kinds of forest environment clearances. To this the Division Bench asked that if the land acquisition turns out to be illegal due to the passing of the private company, then how can these cut trees be revived.
The court said that the challenge to the acquisition is a serious matter. There is no meaning here with the permission of the Forest and Environment Department. The court has fixed the hearing on May 4 on the stay application with the direction to the state government to submit a report on the felling of trees. Advocate Saurabh Sahu Rajni Soren, Soumya Sharma, Shailendra HS Ahulwalia were present in the case.