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Protests in Hasdeo Aranya

  • Published
    21st Apr, 2023

For more than a year now, locals, largely from the Gond tribe, in Hariharpur, Ghatbarra, and Fattepur villages, have been holding a sit-in at the entrance to Hariharpur against mining.

  • Protests against mining in the Hasdeo Aranya region have been going on since the area was first granted clearance for this purpose by the Chhattisgarh government in 2010. However, there are no positive results.
  • In March 2022, the Chhattisgarh government granted expansion approval for the project to open the Parsa Coal Block, which would dig under Hariharpur.
  • Here, about 2 lakh trees have been marked for felling. The mines will expand into Fattepur and Ghatbarra.
  • Mining will lead to the loss of about 8 lakh trees of the Sal forests in Hasdeo Aranya, which will end up affecting the catchment of the Hasdeo River.

Issues faced by the local people (with no voice)

  • When the mining began, the blasting was a few acres away. Slowly, from 2018 onwards, it started coming closer. Today, the mine is less than 100 metres away from their backyard.
  • Cattle have less to graze on, groundwater level has gone down
  • The blasting has loosened the earth around borewells and tube wells people had been using for minor farming.
  • The nearby stream which used to have water and fish throughout the year has turned into a muddy rivulet since the digging has affected the catchment area.

About the Hasdeo Aranya forests region

  • The Hasdeo Aranya forests are called the lungs of Chhattisgarh.
  • The Hasdeo Aranya (Aranya means forest) lies in the catchment area of the Hasdeo River and is spread across 1,878 sq km 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.
  • Home to vulnerable population: 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 the Forest Rights Act has remained extremely poor to date leaving the population extremely vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.


  • Underneath the Hasdeo Aranya is a coalfield that comprises 22 coal blocks. In 2010, the Centre categorised 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, says the resolution.

How significant is this region?

  • Forest land: 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%).
  • Biodiversity: Besides, the forests are ecologically sensitive due to the rich biodiversity. It is also part of a large elephant corridor stretching from supporting the migration of wild elephants from the Gumla district in Jharkhand to the Korba district of Chhattisgarh.
  • Hasdeo Bango reservoir: 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 Hasdeo Bango Dam built across the Hasdeo River irrigates six lakh acres of land, crucial to a State with paddy as its main crop.
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