The gram sabha to decide on coal mining in Mahan will be reconvened during second and third week of August this year. After convening the Gram Sabha and subsequent consent of the villagers of the area of Mahan forest, the fate of Mahan Coal Ltd and the villagers will be decided.
"We will convene a Gram Sabha afresh to take consent of the villagers since their legal right on the land has been sanctioned recently. Any mining activity cannot be permitted till the legal right can be settled. The gram sabha will decide whether the mining will take place or not," M Selvendran, district collector told Business Standard telephonically.
"It is a victory of the movement of the people who are fighting since long," Priya Pillai of Mahan Sangharsh Samiti said.
A meeting between district collector M Selvendran and members of Mahan Sangharsh Samiti was organized today in Singrauli.
Recently, the Jabalpur High Court had ordered the Superintendent of Police to investigate in the matter.
Greenpeace India had moved High Court with a complaint that a there were some irregularities in the Gram Sabha that was convened last year. It had alleged that consent for clearance to Mahan Ltd for coal mining was given based on fraudulent signatures of people who were dead.
However, the district collector clarified, this Gram Sabha would be a fresh initiative to decide if the legal rights be settled and the project should be given go-ahead for mining. The Gram Sabha may veto the project.
The Mahan Coal Limited, a joint venture between Essar Power Limited and Hindalco Industries Limited, was formed in 2006 to develop the coal block and Gram Sabha was necessary under Forest Rights Act 2006. Mahan block is a part of Mohan Ban Reserve Forest which is spread over an area of 925.30 sq km and the area of Mahan Coal block is only 9.8 sq km. There are nine continuous coal blocks in that area; and Mahan is one of them. Essar is setting up its power project while Aditya Birla group company Hindalco is setting up a large scale Alumina project in Singarauli.