‘Cancel ESSAR mining licence,  protect forest rights of villagers’

BHOPAL : Mahan Sangharsh Samiti has demanded cancellation of the mining licence of ESSAR and protection of the forest rights of villagers. The Samiti’s demand has been supported by several social organisations. The Samiti said suppression of  popular movements was unacceptable. The Samiti also emphasised that meetings of Gram Sabhas or any other democratic process cannot be conducted in an atmosphere of oppression.

The members of the Samiti said that the chief minister should immediately cancel the mining licence of ESSAR for mining in forests of Mahan in Singrauli district. They claimed that mining licence has been given by depriving more than 50,000 persons of 54 villages of their sources of livelihood. The Samiti also urged the chief minister to immediately apply Forest Rights Act in these villages.

Samiti member Hardayal Singh Gond said they have been facing pressure from police and administration as they wish to save jungles. He said the loss caused to jungles could not be equated with compensation. He alleged that government should not become puppets in the hands of the industrialists.

It is claimed that district collector M Selvendran had conducted a meeting with Samiti members and had announced constitution of a new Gram Sabha. Greenpeace senior campaigner Priya Pillai claimed that their mobile signal device and solar panel have been seized from Amilia village and two of their volunteers have been arrested. She said they have written to superintendent of police (SP) as they have not been shown the copy of FIR related to the arrest.

Other social workers too have condemned the arrest of agitating volunteers. According to Madhuri, oppressive policy of the government could not be accepted. She alleged those who are agitating peacefully are being tortured. She said depriving common man from forests and other resources for the corporate interests would prove a disaster for the country.

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