Raipur: Chhattisgarh Forests, Housing and Environment Minister, Mohammad Akbar on Sunday wrote a letter to Prakash Javdekar, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, urging him not to include coal blocks which comes under areas of Hasdeo Aranya and adjoining Mand River and areas within the proposed elephant reserve in Chhattisgarh in the upcoming coal block auction.
In the letter, the forest minister said that exclusion of coal blocks situated in these areas of Chhattisgarh from auction would be appropriate from the outlook of protection of forest and environment.
“Coal block between Hasdev Arand and Mand river area also proposed for auction by the Union government …. Recently, there has been an increase in the numbers of wild elephants in the state which has led to a spike in human-elephant conflict. For providing habitat for wild elephants, 1,995 sq km of forest area around Hasdeo river has been declared as Lemru elephant reserve. The process of issuing notification for the same is under process,” Akbar said in the letter.
He reasoned that it is necessary to stop mining in that region to prevent loss of human lives and control on man-elephant conflict.
“For the protection of the forests and environment besides effective control on incidents of human elephant conflict in the future, it is very important to stop future mining activities in the said area” Mohammad Akbar said.
Mohammad Akbar has requested the Union Minister in the letter that the upcoming coal block auction should not include coal blocks located in catchment areas of Hasdeo Aranya and adjoining areas of the Mand river and areas within the boundary of the proposed elephant reserve.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched the auction of 41 coal mines for commercial mining, saying the market for the commodity is now open and the sales will help turn the Covid-19 crisis into an opportunity.
But several of the 41 mines are located in ecologically sensitive areas in central India.