Chhattisgarh Activist Alok Shukla To Receive Green Nobel In US

Chhattisgarh Activist Alok Shukla To Receive Green Nobel In US

Shukla continuously fought against Adani coal mining operations in Hasdeo. Tribals carried out 300 kms padyatra under his leadership against coal mining in Hasdeo.

Avdhesh MallickUpdated: Monday, April 29, 2024, 11:01 PM IST
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Raipur (Chhatisgarh): Chhattisgarh’s environmental activist and convener of Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan (CBA), Alok Shukla has been selected for prestigious international level award Goldman Environmental Prize 2024, also known as the Green Nobel, on Monday, for his struggles, and initiatives to protect environment including Hasdeo Arand, one of the largest dense forest in central India spanning up to 170,000 hectares, having 23 coal blocks into it. He will be felicitated in the US on Monday evening.

Former Health Minister TS Singh Deo wished hearty congratulations for winning an international fame award. The minister wrote on his ‘X’ account ‘Green Noble' Alok Shukla ji on being awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize, 2024.His dedication to environmental conservation is truly commendable. His passion for sustainability is inspiring examples for us all as these efforts serve as a beacon of hope for our planet's future. Chhattisgarh and entire India is proud of you.

Alok Shukla successfully campaigned and mobilized the indigenous communities and those affected by coal mining to campaign against Adani mining to save 445,000 acres of biodiversity-rich forests from 21 planned coal mines in the tribal dominated state Chhattisgarh.

“In July 2022, the government cancelled the 21 proposed coal mines in Hasdeo Aranya, whose pristine forests—popularly known as the lungs of Chhattisgarh—are one of the largest intact forest areas in India,” said a statement from the Goldman Environmental Prize on Monday.

In 2009, the environment ministry notified Hasdeo Arand to be a “No-Go” zone for mining due to its rich forest cover but opened it again for mining. The CBA continuously fought to make Hasdeo Arand mining free.

Two years ago, on October 3, in the leadership of Alok Shukla and local tribal leaders, ‘Hasdeo Bachao Padyatra’ was begun. And in ten days, from Fatehpur in Ambikapur of Surguja district to state capital Raipur, hundreds of tribals covered over 300 kms.

The march which grabbed global attention, was seen as a strong resistance from local communities to protect the Hasdeo Forest.

The Chhattisgarh State Assembly unanimously passed a resolution in July 2022 to designate nearly 1700 sq km expanse of Hasdeo forests as mining free. Irrespective of the resolution, in October 2022, the Chhattisgarh government notified Lemru Elephant Reserve in an area covering 450 sq km.

The state government decision irked the villagers and pushed them to carry out a massive foot march involving over 2,000 villagers from ten villages demanding that the government protect Hasdeo Arand.

The impact of the protest compelled the Congress government to halt the mining related process of three mines falling to Hasdeo Arand.

Speaking to FPJ over phone on Monday, Alok Shukla said, it is unexpected and as you know I was busy with the people’s movement’s work. Actually, this is an international recognition to the people’s fight to save Hasdeo and all the right based people who are fighting to save the environment, in other words Jal, Jungle and Jameen. With this award our determination gets firmer and the fight against illegal mining or the encroachment of forest or grabbing of the lands of indigenous communities in the name of Mining.

From local to international level, we will keep on fighting with conglomerates, governments to save the environment and natural resources, he said.

You can fight with the government but with the big conglomerates such as Adani which enters in the mining field under the cover of Mine Developer and Operator (MDOs) such as Adani, then it becomes a complex and tough war but we will fight .

In Chhattisgarh, the Centre wants to extract coal at any cost. Then, life endangering threats, chances of injury become a common risk.

The conglomerate nexus with the government takes every sort of illegal initiative including attempts to bribe you, threaten you, file false cases against you, defame you by making fake posts becomes daily dangers of life and I come across, Alok Shukla said.

But the fight for justice, save the environment will continue, he asserted.

Moreover, in 2014, Ramesh Agarwal of Raigarh, Chhattisgarh received Green Nobel for anti-mining campaigns.

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