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Monday, June 09, 2014

   

People's Organisations oppose coal block clearance in Madhya Pradesh

 

"In the view of the fact that the settlement of Adivasi rights over forest is yet to be recognised and, also, considering the quality of forest involved with the coal blocks, coalition of people's organisations in Madhya Pradesh Jan Sangharsh Morcha (JSM) urges that the permission to these coal blocks should continue to be withheld."

 

JSM Release by Anurag Modi

 
   

25 May, 2012Jan Sangharsh Morcha (JSM), a coalition of people’s organisations in Madhya Pradesh has opposed the possible clearance to be given to Mahan and Chatrasal coal blocks in Singrauli district of MP, by the GoM (Group of Ministers) which is scheduled to meet on 30th May 2012.

JSM urges the Ministry of Environment and Forest and GoM that, in the view of the fact that the settlement of Adivasi rights over forest is yet to be recognised and, also, considering the quality of forest involved in these coal blocks, the permission to these coal blocks should continue to be withheld.

The clearance without settling the rights of Adivasi will amount to violation of Adivasi rights and attract penal provisions under SC/ST, ACT, 1989 and FRA, 2006 read together.

 

The JSM is sending a formal letter opposing the proposed clearance, to the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Prime Minister’s Office.

JSM’ convener Anurag Modi has said that Shashi Ruia of ESSAR and Aditya Birla of Hindalco Group have been lobbying with the UPA government for the last three years to push for clearance to the Mahan coal block. The lobbying has resulted in the UPA government proposing to give clearance to Mahan coal field on the face of various experts committee, including earlier minister of MOEF, Jairam Ramesh, recommending against the clearance.

For example, citing various environmental and Adivasi rights issues the subcommittee members- Mahesh Rangarajan; an academician, C. D. Singh Inspector General, H.C. Chaudhary , Assistant Inspector General of Forest - from the Forest Advisory Committee after their visit from 4th to 6th June 2011 to the Mahan coal block have categorically said in its report, that the process of settlement of community rights is yet to be initiated; and the civil and forest personnel are not aware of the provisions of community rights.

The report further said that the settlement of community rights in the Mahan area would have given rights over forest resources in the vicinity. Giving away the forests for Mahan coal block without settling the rights of Adivasisis living in the vicinity of the Mahan forest amounts to displacement as they will not be able to survive in the area without having rights on the forest resources.

According to the section 3 1(V) of THE SCHEDULED CASTES AND THE SCHEDULED TRIBES (PREVENTION OF ATROCITIES) ACT, 1989, who being non member of SC & ST community, “wrongfully dispossesses a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe from his land or premises or interferes with the enjoyment of his rights over any land, premises or water” is an offence.

The section 4 (5) of the Forest Right Act, 2006, restrict eviction of forest dwellers from their possession of forest land till the verification and recognition process under the act is completed. Reading of both the act together will make the clearance to Mahan, without settling the community rights of Adivasi’, an offence.

JSM further said that the quality of forest involved in the coal block also poses serious questions. The forest advisory sub-committee has said that the tree cover in the region is of very good quality and it is the habitat for endangered wild life species listed in Schedule I of Wild Life Act, 1972.

Member organisations of JSM: Alok Agarwal (Narmada Bachao Andolan), Anurag Modi (Shramik Adivasi Snagthan), Sagram (Kisan Adivasi Sangathan), Madhuri Bhen (Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan), Sunil Bhai (Samajwadi Jan Parisahd), Rajkumar Sinha (Bargi Bandh Vishthapit and Prabhavit Sangh), Rajkumar Bhai (Bagelkhand Adivasi Mukti Morcha), Rinchin (MP Mahila Manch,), Ajay Khare (Nari Chetna Manch).

Anurag Modi

Convener

29/5/12

 

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