South Eastern Coalfields' (SECL) expansion plans in parts of Korba district of Chhattisgarh is not only facing hurdle in terms of potest by natives, even the graves of villagers' ancestors have now put a check on the expansion of the coal mines.
The SECL is expanding its project towards Nariabodh village, which means the locals will have to vacate the place.
The land acquired by the company for the expansion project also included the village’s grave yard.
But a few graves of their ancestors at the outskirts of the village have put the brake on the expansion of mines and the process of rehabilitating the villagers from the area.
The management is in a fix to destroy it and go ahead with the digging work. One of the graves is in a position to collapse any movement as the SECL had dug its one side.
“That would be the most unfortunate part of the project when the graves would be destroyed and the place would be dug for mining coal,” Santram Kanwar, a local villager said.
The people of Nariabodh had raised strong objection and forced the SECL management to stop the digging work near the graves.
The company refused to respond to a query sent by the Business Standard seeking its view on the issue whether it had acquired grave yard land and would destroy the graves for mining.
The environment activists however said the SECL had been ignoring the norms in expanding the mines.
“If they follow the rules, the grave yard can be protected from being destroyed,” Laxmi Chouhan, director of non-government organization “Sarthak”, said. The grave yard is on the boundary of the pocket acquired by the SECL for Laxman mines.
The SECL should leave some margin from the boundary of the land it had acquired.
“But the company had been using the entire land resulting in mines reaching upto the village border,” Chouhan said, adding that the company is left with no more land for mining and hence it wanted to ulitise the entire area to maintain its high productivity.
The villagers in Nariabodh have already been displaced twice for the expansion of coal mines.
This is the third habitant they are staying in and it has also come under the scanner of displacement unless their ancestors' graves turn as their saviors.
The coal mining major is however facing similar problem in other villages also and the authorities are in a fix to go ahead with the project at the cost of graces.