RAIPUR: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has stated that he doesn’t agree with the latest resolution of the Chhattisgarh authorities to approve the mining initiatives in Hasdeo Aranya forest and stated that the protests towards it have been ‘justified in some ways.’
Gandhi was answering a question throughout an interplay with college students on the University of Cambridge in the UK on Monday. The video of the interplay with the scholar went viral on social media on Wednesday.
One of the scholars questioned the Congress celebration’s shifting stance on mining initiatives in Chhattisgarh, pointing to the guarantees made by Rahul Gandhi in 2015 for the safety of tribal rights in the Hasdeo space.
“…Congress Party has gone back on its decision, and are now sanctioning forest clearance for mining in Hasdeo…. How can you defend this decision by your party in light of earlier promises and the rights of the Adivasi people?” a pupil requested.
Gandhi, responding to her question, stated that he has an issue with the choice and that he is engaged on it inside the celebration.
“I’m working on it…I see the protest…I know that the protest is going on and I think in some ways the protest is justified,’ Rahul Gandhi said.
Earlier in March-April, Bhupesh Baghel led Congress government gave final approval for mining in Parsa East and Kente Basan (PEKB) mine and Parsa open cast mine in Chhattisgarh’s Hasdeo Arand forests. The total area of PEKB is 1136.32 hectare while Parsa is about 841.53 hectare and both the mining projects were allotted to Rajasthan Rajya Vidhut Udpadan Nigam ( RRVUL). According to local activists, around 4.5 to 5 lakh trees are to be logged down for the two mining projects in Hasdeo area.
Tribals in Chhattisgarh’s Hasdeo Arand area have been protesting against the mining activities in the region for the last one decade.
Activists in Chhattisgarh believe that the situation on the ground is tense as hundreds of people are continuously protesting the grant of final approval by the state government to the PEKB and Parsa coal block. Activists claimed that the affected people are also facing extreme pressure from local administration to go ahead with the deforestation and now another coal block Kente extension is up for public hearing on June 13 for environment clearance.
“Rahul Gandhi’s position while addressing the gathering in Madanpur village of Hasdeo in 2015 became pointless when Bhupesh Baghel’s government took a controversial decision to grant final approval to Parsa and PEKB phase -II mining in Hasdeo area. Gandhi remains silent on this decision and his reply in Cambridge makes it clear that he is not happy with this decision and doesn’t intend to defend this decision also,” stated Bipasha Paul, an activist working in the Hasdeo Arayan space.
She additional stated that massive gatherings beneath the banner of Sarv Adivasi Samaj are a transparent message that Hasdeo protest is now the battle to avoid wasting the Adivasi existence and identification.
“People are supporting the protest from all over Chhattisgarh and demanding that the mining project should not be opened. Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan government are already facing backlash on this controversial decision and it will ultimately harm the Congress party,” she stated.
Meanwhile, the Chhattisgarh authorities has refused to reply on Gandhi’s remark. However, officers claimed that Gandhi’s remark is shocking because the closing approval of the project was given after the approval of Congress’s excessive command.
“The Rajasthan government was continuously putting pressure before the final approval and as far as I know that decision was taken after the nod of Congress high command,” stated a senior official working carefully with the federal government.
Notably, on February 27, in a meeting with Rahul Gandhi, the place Baghel and Gehlot have been additionally current, discussions on the long-pending clearance to Rajasthan for mining coal from PEKB have been taken up.
In December 2021, the Centre granted surroundings clearance to Rajasthan for mining coal from PEKB however vital clearances from the Chhattisgarh authorities have been awaited, regardless of repeated reminders and correspondence.
Earlier, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot had written twice to celebration chief Sonia Gandhi to intervene and resolve the difficulty.
Subsequently, on March 26, Gehlot met Baghel for the pending clearances of two coal blocks – Parsa Coal Block and the second part of PEKB. After the meeting, Gehlot claimed the clearances have been granted by the state authorities.
Hasdeo Arand is one of many largest contiguous stretches of very dense forest in central India spanning 170,000 hectares and having 23 coal blocks. In 2009, the surroundings ministry categorised Hasdeo Arand to be a “No-Go” zone for mining due to its wealthy forest cover however opened it once more to mining as a result of the coverage was not finalised.
Elephants have a big presence right here all through the year and it is an essential half of a giant migratory hall. Hasdeo Aranya forests are the catchment of Hasdeo River, Mahanadi’s largest tributary, which is crucial for perennial river circulation. It is additionally the watershed of Hasdeo Bango reservoir and thus crucial for irrigation of three lakh hectares of double-cropped land in the “rice-bowl” state of Chhattisgarh.