The coal ministry has issued a notification on its intention to amass 712.072 hectares (ha) and all rights over the land for mining coal in Madanpur South coal block in Korba district of Chhattisgarh, whose authorities has been contemplating declaring the wealthy forest space an elephant reserve.
Based on the notification printed on December 24, 489.274 ha is protected forest land and 159.327 includes income and different forest land.
The intention to amass the land has been notified underneath provisions of the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Growth) Act. The regulation says that if the central authorities is glad that coal is obtainable from a tract of land, it can provide discover of its intention to amass it.
However diversion of the forest land for non-forest use hasn’t taken place but as a result of the Chhattisgarh authorities was contemplating declaring it an elephant reserve.
“We have now not began the method of diversion of forest land. I can’t say something on whether or not or when will probably be diverted. The problem of extending the elephant reserve continues to be into account,” mentioned Rakesh Chaturvedi, principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) in Chhattisgarh
“For the reason that elephant reserve hasn’t been notified but commenting on its boundaries will probably be untimely. The federal government will take a name,” mentioned PVN Rao, PCCF (wildlife) in Chhattisgarh.
Environmental activists and authorized researchers have raised a number of issues with the intention to amass giant biodiversity wealthy forest land positioned within the Hasdeo Arand region– one of many largest contiguous stretches of very dense forests in central India spanning 170,000 ha which has 22 coal blocks beneath.
“The central authorities has issued a notification to amass the identical forest land for which a course of for diversion is pending, particularly as a result of the state authorities is trying to declare the realm as an elephant reserve and the native Gram Sabhas have refused to grant consent,” mentioned Kanchi Kohli, authorized researcher on the Centre for Coverage Analysis suppose tank.
“This raises a critical authorized query on the validity of the notification issued underneath the Coal Bearing Areas Act, 1957 which is in search of to amass authorities forest land. However extra importantly, it highlights the failure of cooperative federalism as each the state and central governments seem to have visualized a unique future for the Hasdeo Arand area the place the Madanpur South coal block is positioned,” Kohli mentioned.
Alok Shukla, convenor of the Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan, a non-government organisation, mentioned the federal government ought to seek the advice of the native gram sabha (village council).
“I believe buying forest land like this fully goes towards the provisions of Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act. Just lately 4 coal blocks within the Hasdeo area had been saved from being auctioned after state authorities mentioned they’ve wealthy, dense forest cowl. This block can also be in Hasdeo Arand and the catchment of Hasdeo river is positioned right here so why is it being acquired for mining? First there ought to be detailed session with folks of the area and state authorities ought to oppose this transfer by the Centre,” he mentioned
Requested whether or not the Centre had thought-about the influence of mining in an elephant habitat and wealthy forest space, a senior coal ministry official mentioned on situation of anonymity : “The queries are untimely. The notification talks merely of intention to amass. The target is exactly to search out out the intricacies primarily based on which a choice will probably be made.”