‘Chipko movement’ to save Hasdeo Aranya
11th May, 2022
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.
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