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
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).