NH 130 blocked by thousands of tribals in protest against mining in Hasdeo forest areas

Sarva Adivasi Samaj joined the movement of Hasdeo Aranya Bachao.

Ambikapur:Thousands of tribals under the banner of Sarva Adivasi Samaj, Chhattisgarh, staged a chakka jam on National Highway No. 130 on Friday in support of the ongoing protest against mining in Hasdeo forest area. The tribals, including large number of women, from across the state reached Hasdeo and staged chakka jam under the banner of Sarva Adivasi Samaj, supporting the ongoing movement to safe the forest and environment.

The movement of trains carrying coal from the Parsa East Kete mine was also disrupted due to the demonstration and chakka jam. The local administration had to change the route of vehicles passing through the NH 130 as thousands of tribals led by former Member of Parliament Sohan Potai were standing on the Highway till late evening.

In the letter addressed to Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Sarva Adivasi Samaj pointed out many statutory flaws in the mining proposal permission. Permission has not been taken from the gram sabha, but the administration has done the exercise of conducting fake gram sabhas, the letter written to the Chief Minister read. The letter also mentioned that the permission of mining will lead to cutting of trees in large numbers and it is a direct attack on tribal culture and their god and goddess.  Sarva Adivasi Samaj warned that if the permission for the Parsa coal block mining is not canceled and the coal mining in Parsa East Basen block is not stopped immediately, then the entire tribal society will launch a fierce agitation in the state.

Tribals protest for Hasdeo

The agitation against coal mining in Parsa has been continuing for the last ten years, Samaj members said. Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had once supported the ongoing movement to save Hasdeo Aranya by reaching Madanpur, when there was no Congress government in the state. He had assured that, if the Congress government is formed, then the tribals will not be removed from the forest land. But permission for mining shows a different character of the state government.

Amidst protests over Hasdeo Aranya, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel’s stand in this matter indicates that, the state government will not stop the excavation, although it will ensure that the law and rules are not violated. Chief Minister Baghel has said on May 18 in discussion with journalists on Raipur helipad that the country needs electricity and for this coal is essential.

Tribals protest for Hasdeo

The Chief Minister also made it clear the other day that coal is there, where there are mountains and forests. Policies have been made to save the forests, the forest department looks after them, for that there is a forest act and an environmental law. Those rules should not be violated and the affected people should get equal compensation, the Chief Minister had told the journalists. Today the Government of India itself is suspending the passenger train for coal shortage. But the rule for this should be followed strictly, said the Chief Minister.

Contrary to the statement of the Chief Minister, the Hasdeo Aranya Bachao Andolan activists and people fighting for the environment claim that the coal storage in 180 coal blocks of the state is 58000 million tonnes, out of which 130 coal blocks are out of the forests. In Hasdeo Aranya, there is only 5000 tonnes of coal reserves. Along with this claim, the question is also being raised that, when this situation is there, Hasdeo Aranya is considered as the home of elephants and lungs of central India. It is also rich in biodiversity, in which the animals of the species forest category are inhabited. It is beyond understood as to why government is insisting on mining here.

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