The Bhupesh Baghel government had issued a show-cause notice to the joint venture NCL of National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) and Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation (CMDC) Limited to cancel the second stage of clearance granted to Deposit-13. The state government cited the reason that the gram sabha was organised for consent was fake.
“There are many projects in Chhattisgarh especially in Hasdeo-Arand area where mining projects are running without valid gram sabha consent,” Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan convenor Alok Shukla said. They demand that the state government should take action and review the gram sabha proceedings that allegedly gave consent, he added.
The green activists are however gearing up to launch a vehement protest against coal mining in bio-diversity-rich Hasdeo Arand. “We welcome Chhattisgarh government’s action in Dantewada but ask why it did not examine the minutes of gram sabha held for Parsa coal block,” Umeshwar Singh of Hasdeo Arand Bachao Samiti said.
The samiti would resort its indefinite agitation in Hasdeo that was called off after 75 days last month after the state government failed to respond. “A delegation from Hasdeo would meet Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi to pressure the state government to act he had assured in Madanpur that no mining activities would take place in Hasdeo,” Singh said.
The Hasdeo Arand coalfield covers a total area of 1,878 square km, of which 1,502 square km has forest cover. The coalfield has total estimated reserves of 5.179 billion tonnes, of which 1.369 billion tonnes have been proven to date. A total of over 30 coal blocks have been mapped.