Despite red flags, green nod for coal mining, new blocks put on auction

Despite a cler order by the National Commission of Scheduled Tribes (NCST) to defer public hearings, and a study by Indian Council of Medical Research that points to adverse impact of coal mining on health of tribals, the Chhattisgarh government and the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF & CC), facilitated the green clearance for a coal mine in Gare Palma area of Tamnar tehsil in Rajgarh district.

What has now irked tribals and village panchayats is that three coal blocks in Sector IV of Gare Palma and two from the adjacent Ghargoda tehsil, also in Rajgarh district, have been put up for auction despite government-sponsored studies clearly stating that the air and water in the region is polluted, and pointing to increased prevalence of respiratory diseases amongst villagers.

The ICMR health report is the first of its kind in the country, and was undertaken following an NCST order of April 4, 2018, that called for conducting “a detailed enquiry into the complaints with respect to deprivation of rights and safeguards to the Scheduled Tribes”. NCST, which had heard from residents of 17 villages, had also asked Chhattisgarh state government to defer the public hearing for Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Limited (MahaGenCo) to be held on April 17, 2018, till all studies were undertaken.

Indian Express
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