9th Day of Hasdeo Aranya Protests

Press release

Villages in Hasdeo Aranya of Chhattisgarh oppose illegal processes of land acquisition and allotment of coal blocks without consent of Gram Sabhas, writes to Chief Minister for intervention.

The districts of Surguja and Surajpur in northern Chhattisgarh is rich in bio-diversity, and is home to several species of wildlife, including elephants, and also serve as migratory corridor for them. The catchment area of the Hasdeo Bango barrage also irrigates 4 lakh hectares of prime agricultural land. The region is also home to adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers, and sustains and supports their livelihoods and cultural exchange. Due to the essential features of this rich area, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change declared the entire region as a ‘no-go area’ for mining in the year 2009.

On 23rd June, 2011, the then Union Minister for Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) Shri Jairam Ramesh granted forest clearances to 3 coal blocks – of Tara, Parsa East and Kante Basan, but promised that no further clearance would be given to any other coal mining projects in this region. Even this forest clearance was later set aside by the National Green Tribunal following Section 2 of the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980 for diversion of 1898.328 hectares of forest land at Parsa East and Kante-Basan captive coal blocks in favour of Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd.
On 30th June, 2011, Mr. Jairam Ramesh wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) regarding proposed clearances to the Morga – II coal block allotment and strongly objected to any further mining activity in the proposed region. The Union government in 2014 neglected the earlier position and started giving clearances to mining projects, thereby paving the way for the destruction of one of most important forest regions of the state.
The auction/allotment of coal blocks is to be done by the Union government, but the state government is mandated to determine the procedures and lays down rules for forest and environment clearance and land acquisition. The assessment and analysis for the loss of forest life, water sources, flora and fauna, environment changes and impact of these projects on the culture and livelihoods is to be done by the state government. The state machinery is also responsible and empowered to raise any objections in this matter. It is also imperative to ensure implementation for PESA, 1996 and FRA, 2006 before initiating processes for land acquisition and giving forest clearances. and record the (lack of) consent from Gram Sabhas.

The experiences of the last 15 years have shown us that these processes are not only ignored, but also violated at the behest of corporate groups. The ill-impacts of these decisions has put the interests of the state at stake and today we are facing cathartic consequences.

Hasdeo Aranya Bachao Sangharsh Samiti hopes that the state government led by Shri Bhupesh Baghel will address the constant woes and terror created by the industrial lobby and address the needs of the communities living in the state and are solely dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods, culture and dignity. We also hope that the state government would work further to conserve the environment and address the problems faced by the communities in the Hasdeo region.

We urge the state government to consider these demands through our demands submitted to the Chief Minister on 21st October, 2019.
Scrap the land acquisition process undertaken in the villages of Salhi, Hariharpur and Fathepur in the Parsa coal block – Surguja and Surajpur districts fall as under the Schedule V region. It is mandatory to secure written consent letters from Gram Sabhas for land acquisition for any project – as per the rules of the PESA, 1996. In the 3 villages of the proposed coal block, the acquisition process was carried out without securing the consent of concerned gram sabhas, which is a clear violation of PESA, 1996 and Section 41(3) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. Hence, the land acquisition process should be readily cancelled.

Cancelling the Stage-I Forest Clearance given to Parsa Coal block – As per the provisions of Section 4(5) of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 and the letter dated 30th July, 2009 from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, any diversion of forest land is to precede with announcing the settlement of all claims as the FRA mandates, and with the written consent letter of the concerned Gram Sabhas. In the project affected villages of Salhi, Hariharpur, Fatehpur and Ghatbarra, the settlement of individual and community resource rights is still pending. There has also been no consent taken from the gram sabhas as per constitutional provisions. Hence, the Stage-1 clearance should be cancelled.

Cancelling the environment and forest clearance and land acquisition process in the Paturia, Gidhmuri and Madanpur South coal blocks – The 20 gram sabhas of Hasdeo Aranya passed a unanimous resolution in 2015 to oppose all future auction/allotment of coal blocks and mining, and submitted those to the then Chief Minister and the Prime Minister. In violation of the rights of Gram Sabhas recognized under Schedule V of the constitution and PESA rules, the allotments of 5 coal blocks were made. Hence, we demand that the environment, forest clearance and land acquisition process in Paturia, Girmudi and Madanpur South coal blocks.

The MDO (Mines Developer cum Operator) agreement between Adani group and Chhattisgarh Power Generation Company (which was allotted the Paturia and Gidhmuri coal block) should be cancelled.

Putting a stop to mining by banning all coal block allotments in the entire Hasdeo Aranya region.

Release on 22nd October 2019 by members of Hasdeo Aranya Bachao Sangharsh Samiti


प्रेस विज्ञप्ति

हसदेव अरण्य क्षेत्र के ग्रामीणों का आंदोलन रहेगा जारी।
सरकार अपनी मनमानी बंद कर गांव को उजड़ना बंद करे

जिला प्रशासन और अडानी कंपनी के तमाम हथकंडों के बाद भी हसदेव अरण्य में खनन परियोजनाओं के खिलाफ ग्रामीणों का संघर्ष जारी हैं। ग्रामीणों ने कहा कि आदिवासियों की आजीविका व संस्कृति की सुरक्षा और स्वशासन के लिए संविधान की पांचवी अनुसूची में प्रावधान हैं। इन्ही क्षेत्रो में पेसा कानून 1996 लागू हैं । इनका पालन राज्य सरकार को करना हैं परंतु अडानी जैसी कंपनियों के मुनाफे के लिए राज्य सरकार इन प्रावधानों का उल्लंघन कर रही हैं। यहां तक कि इसका लोकतांत्रिक विरोध भी राज्य सरकार को बर्दाश्त नही हैं इसीलिए प्रशासन के माध्यम से गांव वालों पर दवाब बनाया जा रहा हैं, धरने की जगह को खाली करवाने कोशिश ही रही हैं।
लोगों ने कहा कि हसदेव अरण्य में अब किसी भी खनन परियोजना को एक इंच जमीन नही दी जाएगी । फर्जी ग्रामसभा की जांच, जबरन भूमि अधिग्रहण को रद्द करने एवं खनन परियोजनों को निरस्त करने की मांगो पर ग्रामीणों का आंदोलन जारी रहेगा ।
धरने को समर्थन देने पहुँचे किसान नेता आनंद मिश्रा ने कहा कि आपकी लड़ाई सिर्फ एक दो गांव बचाने की नही हैं बल्कि छत्तीसगढ़ को बचाने की हैं। हसदेव के जंगल जिस दिन उजाड़ गए जांजगीर, कोरबा और बिलासपुर जिला पानी के लिए तरस जाएगा । उन्होंने कहा कि जिस दिन आदिवसियों ने तय कर लिया उस दिन कोई कंपनी एक इंच जमीन नही ले सकेगी।
जिला किसान संघ के राजनादगांव के सुदेश टीकम ने कहा कि ऐतिहासिक अन्याय को सुधारने बनाये गए वनाधिकर कानून को मोदी सरकार खत्म करना चाहती हैं और अंग्रेज जमाने के वन अधिनियम को संशोधित कर और अधिक जान विरोधी बना रही हैं। यह सिर्फ इसलिए हो रहा ताकि हमारे जंगलो को आसानी से कारपोरेट को सौंपा जा सके। प्रदेश की कांग्रेस सरकार को जनता ने उनके जंगल जमीन की सुरक्षा के लिए जनादेश दिया हैं न कि अडानी कंपनी के एजेंट बनकर कार्य करने के लिए। अम्बिकापुर से आये रेहाना फाउंडेशन के जावेद ने कहा कि आपके आंदोलन में हम लोग भी साथ मे हैं और आने वाले समय मे अम्बिकापुर में भी खनन परियोजनाओं के खिलाफ जंगल और पर्यावरण बचाने आंदोलन शुरू किया जाएगा। कार्यकम में नंदकुमार कश्यप, सुदेश टीकम जिला किसान संघ, राजनांदगांव, रेहाना फाउंडेशन सरगुज़ा से जावेद, नचिकेता जायसवाल वकील, दिनेश शर्मा, राजा धंजल, केवल साहू, मनीष सोनी छत्तीसगढ़ मुक्ति मोर्चा से रामकांत बंजारे सहित अन्य साथियों ने भी संबोधित किया

उमेश्वर सिंह अर्मो
संयोजक सदस्य
हसदेव अरण्य बचाओ संघर्ष समिति