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‘Chipko movement’ to save Hasdeo Aranya

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    11th May, 2022

Context

Local women in Surajpur district of Chhattisgarh started a tree-hugging campaign recently, as trees are being cut for the mining project in Hasdeo Aranya.

About

Hasdeo Arand Region

  • The Hasdeo Arand Coalfield is spread over North Korba, south Surguja and Surajpur districts.
  • This is one of the largest intact forest areas in Central India outside of the protected area system.
  • The coalfield covers a total area of 1878 sq km. of which 1502 sq km. has forest cover.
  • Around 80% of this is covered by good quality forest (approximately 1176 sq km has a canopy cover of over 40% while an additional 116 sq km has a canopy cover of over 70%).
  • It is also part of a large elephant corridor stretching from supporting the migration of wild elephants from Gumla district in Jharkhand to Korba district of Chhattisgarh.
  • Hasdeo Arand region is home to a large and vulnerable population, most of them being Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers.
  • Over 90% of the residents are dependent on agriculture cultivation and forest produce for their livelihoods.
  • The implementation of Forest Rights Act has remained extremely poor till date leaving the population extremely vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.
  • It is also the watershed of the Hasdeo Bango reservoir on the Hasdeo River, which is a tributary of the Mahanadi River and one of the most important rivers of Chhattisgarh.
  • The area was declared as a ‘No-Go Zone’ for mining by the Centre in 2009. Despite this, mining in the region continued as the policy for the ‘No-Go Zone’ was not finalised.

Environmental impact of the Mining Project:

  • According to the clearance report by the forest advisory committee, 95,000 trees will be cut for the project.
  • But according to our assessment, more than 200,000 trees spread across 841 hectares of forest will have to be chopped down.
  • This project, spread over 1,200 hectares, will lead to a displacement of around 700 people from Fatehpur, Hariharpur and Saili villages of the Sarguja and Surajpur districts
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