Explained | The coal mining protests in the Hasdeo Aranya region

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained | The coal mining protests in the Hasdeo Aranya region” published in The Hindu on 4th August 2022.

What is the News?

Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly has unanimously passed a private member resolution urging the Centre to cancel the allocation of all coal mining blocks in the ecologically sensitive Hasdeo Aranya area.

What is a Private member resolution?

An MLA who is not a Minister — whether he or she happens to be from the ruling party or not— is a private member. 

A private member resolution can be brought in by a private member and if passed, it becomes an expression of what the House thinks. This is different from a private member bill which would become law in case of approval.

Such private member resolutions were passed by the State Assemblies of Punjab and Kerala during the farm law agitation where both state legislatures had expressed their displeasure against the then proposed (now withdrawn) farm laws.

What is the importance of the Hasdeo Aranya region?

The Hasdeo Aranya (Aranya means forest) lies in the catchment area of the Hasdeo river in North-Central Chhattisgarh. 

The Hasdeo river is a tributary of the Mahanadi river which originates in Chhattisgarh and flows through Odisha into the Bay of Bengal. 

The Hasdeo forests are also the catchment area for the Hasdeo Bango Dam built across the Hasdeo river which irrigates six lakh acres of land, crucial to a State with paddy as its main crop. 

Besides, the forests are ecologically sensitive due to the rich biodiversity they offer and due to the presence of a large migratory corridor for elephants.

What is happening in Hasdeo Aranya region?

Underneath the Hasdeo Aranya is a coalfield that comprises 22 coal blocks. 

In 2010, the Center categorized Hasdeo Aranya to be a “no-go” zone for mining. It ruled out mining in any of these blocks. 

However, only a year later, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) granted clearance for the mining of one coal block. At present, of the 22 blocks, seven blocks have been allotted to different companies.

Hence, the resolution has urged the Centre to cancel the allocation of all coal mining blocks in the Hasdeo Aranya area.

Print Friendly and PDF