Residents of twenty villages in Chhattisgarh’s Hasdeo Arand forests held sit-in protests in Tara in 2019.
Residents of twenty villages in Chhattisgarh’s Hasdeo Arand forests held sit-in protests in Tara in 2019.

Chhattisgarh’s Surguja which is continuously running distressed with the opening of mines, environmental degradation, increased man-animal conflicts, is going to witness another public hearing on environmental clearance in Hasdeo-Arand area for proposed coal mine extension on July 14, 2021.

Hundreds of villagers of affected villages and nearby areas started flocking to oppose the proposed public hearing.

In the context of giving teeth to the protest, a public meeting was also held in the affected area on Thursday.

President of Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan (CBA) Alok Shukla said, the place which was earmarked for mining cannot be allotted for mining as of now it is conserved forest area. Secondly, the forest department has neither earmarked the area for mining, nor the forest clearance was granted. Even on the technical grounds, till forest clearance was not granted, the state government cannot grant environmental clearance. It is illegal, Shukla said.

"The organization of public hearing in village Parsa as a part of Kete-Basan extension project is itself illegal. Therefore, to save the land, forest, and water from the Corporate grabbing, we organized a public meeting in Fatehpur on Thursday", Shukla added.

"In this period of COVID crisis where even small gathering was not allowed, the government is allowing mass gathering and public hearing for environmental clearance(EC). This decision is insane", Shukla said.

To prevent major environmental degradation, we also wrote a letter to Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, the environmental activist said.

18 gram sabhas have already opposed EC public hearing, the CBA letter to CM claimed.

The government has also proposed to reduce the size of Lemru elephant reserve 1,995 sq km to 450 sq km. It will create havoc in the area, increase man-animal conflicts.

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