Surguja Cong extends support to locals, tribals protesting to save Hasdeo forests

Raipur: Surguja Congress has extended support to the villagers protesting against deforestation for the coal mine in Hasdeo Aranya area. Under the leadership of Medicinal Plants Board president Balkrishna Pathak, the District Congress and Zila and Janpad Panchayat members encouraged the villagers by visiting the protest site.

The villagers, who camped in the dense forest to stop the felling of trees, showed the Congress team the trees cut by the administration in the middle of the night. The villagers alleged that the administration wants to snatch our land and give it to Adani group with the help of Gram Sabha fake proposal. Elderly of the village will not give up their forest and land at any cost. Plant Board President Pathak assured if the villagers unanimously oppose the mine, then the entire Congress party is standing with them.

Meanwhile, health minister TS Singh Deo has also extended support to the villagers if they are willing to oppose the mine unanimously. Zila Panchayat Vice President Adityaeshwar Sharan Singh Deo held a discussion with the villagers over a video call. He said that the land can be acquired under the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act which the administration talks about, but not under the Forest Rights Act 2006 without the consent of the Gram Sabha. Not a single tree will be cut without the prior consent of Gram Sabha. We all stand by the decision of the people of the village.

Meanwhile, on the proposal of the Zila Panchayat, a meeting of the Gram Sabha was held on May 28 in the Gram Panchayat Ghatbarra. The Sarpanch of the village told that the meeting was postponed to June 4 due to non-agreement on the name of the Speaker of the Gram Sabha. The officers present had made the announcement in front of everyone.

Hundreds of people from half a dozen villages like Basen, Hariharpur, Salhi, Ghatbarra of Udaipur have been camping in the forest for the last five days to save the trees. Elders, women, and youth, armed with traditional arrows, sent their children to the homes of relatives and are themselves standing despite the scorching heat and occasional rains.

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