Chhattisgarh: Whole Opposition Suspended After Protesting Ongoing Coal Mining In Hasdeo Aranya Region

Chhattisgarh: Whole Opposition Suspended After Protesting Ongoing Coal Mining In Hasdeo Aranya Region

The Speaker of the House Dr. Raman Singh rejected the opposition’s adjournment motion on the issue of tree felling and ongoing coal mining activities in the Hasdeo Arayanya area.

AVDHESH MALLICKUpdated: Thursday, February 08, 2024, 01:49 AM IST
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Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly |

During the third day of the budget session of the Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly, the whole opposition got suspended for moving into the well of the house in the form of protest on the issue of ongoing coal mining activities in eco-sensitive zone Hasdeo Aranya region.

The Speaker of the House Dr. Raman Singh rejected the opposition’s adjournment motion on the issue of tree felling and ongoing coal mining activities in the Hasdeo Arayanya area. It resulted in, leading to uproar in the House. Despite a brief suspension of proceedings, the opposition persisted, eventually resulting in their automatic suspension for entering the well of the House. 

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Brijmohan Agrawal defended the government's stance, citing opportunities for discussion within the House. 

Before the pandemonium, the Leader of Opposition of Chhattisgarh Assembly Dr Charandas Mahant quoted the fact that a resolution was passed in this House itself on July 26, 2022 regarding the cancellation of all coal blocks in Hasdeo Aranya area. 

In the context, a letter was also sent to the Central government for the cancellation of mining leases and all sorts of permits in eco-sensitive Hasdeo Aranya. No action was taken on this, Mahant said.

Surprisingly, before the Chief Minister got elected or the government got formed, the Forest Department gave permission to cut 15,307 trees in Hasdeo Aranya area, he mentioned. 

Expressing his dismay over the incident that irrespective of the fact that a private resolution was unanimously passed by such a hurting action was taken. He underscored the gravity of the situation, and warned that it might have dire consequences in coming days that may lead to potential damage to Hasdeo and the Bango Dam. He questioned the authority behind granting permission for tree felling, highlighting the detrimental impact on wildlife, tribal communities, and irrigation systems serving numerous districts. 

Former Chief Minister and current Patan MLA, Bhupesh Baghel, emphasized the urgency of addressing these concerns. Congress MLAs Kunwar Nishad and Vikram Mandavi said that life will be affected due to destruction of forests. Congress MLAs highlighted the ongoing conflict between elephants and humans in the Hasdeo Aranya area, noting the inability of tribal communities to voice their concerns. They emphasized the imminent threats to the water, forests, and land that these tribes depend on.

MLA Anila Bhendiya condemned the deforestation for the benefit of industrialists under the BJP-led governments at both the central and state levels, urging for immediate action to safeguard Hasdeo and protect tribal interests. 

MLA Ambika Markam pointed out the disproportionate impact on tribals in the region, expressing hope for advantages with a tribal Chief Minister. Meanwhile, MLA Atal Shrivastava criticized the destruction of tribal lands, highlighting tree cutting under police supervision. He questioned the necessity of new coal mining blocks when existing ones already permit long-term extraction, as stated in the Mining Development and Operation (MDO) agreement with Adani. Laljit Singh Rathiya emphasized the role of the tribal Chief Minister as a shield for tribal welfare in the state. The Chief Minister should solve this problem of tribals. Bango Dam will be completely destroyed by the cutting of trees in Hasdeo Aranya area, said the Congress MLA.   

Congress MLAs Harshita Baghel and Savitri Mandavi said that instead of making Hasdeo a central and state subject, the decision should be taken in the interest of the tribals. The ancestors have preserved this forest for thousands of years. This is like destroying the tribal culture along with the wild animals, said the Congress MLAs.  

Amid this, BJP MLA Dharamjit Singh recalled the incident and thanked then speaker Charan Das Mahant for granting special permission to discuss the issue. He thanked veteran leaders like Bisahu Das Mahant and Ramchandra Singhdeo that the  Bango Dam for comes to existence as part of their untiring effort and grand vision. Consequently, he also complained that those MLAs who are raising the issue of tribal rights and their interests today, were kept mum when proactive action was needed in the past. 

Furthermore, the MLA recounted an incident involving Rahul Gandhi's visit to Madanpur, where the previous government had ordered the eviction of farmers' land. He highlighted that the previous government had issued three tree-cutting orders, whereas the Vishnu Deo Sai government had not pursued such actions. 

However, on the issue, suspended opposition MLAs showed no interest in rejoining the assembly proceedings on the very day. The opposition boycotted the session for the whole day. 

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