Coal mining in Hasdeo forests gets a go ahead; protestors continue to resist

Work in progress in a coal mine in India (Image source: IWP Flickr Album). Image for representation only
Work in progress in a coal mine in India (Image source: IWP Flickr Album). Image for representation only
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Chhattisgarh government allows coal mining in Hasdeo forests

Chhattisgarh government has given its final consent for felling of trees and carrying out coal mining activity in Hasdeo forest in the state. The approval has brought the decade of resistance against mining activity, displacement, and deforestation to a defeat; however, the protesters are keeping their struggle alive.

After the approval was granted, women of the region hugged the trees, recreating the sentiment of the Chipko movement, an ecological movement led by rural women in Uttarakhand.

The Hasdeo Arand Coalfield, which is spread over an area of 1,879.6 square kilometers, contains 23 coal blocks. The approval will lead to displacement of over 700 people and threaten the freedom and livelihoods of tribal communities in the area while resulting in chopping off some 20,000 trees. (The Diplomat)

Centre gives a go-ahead to 540 MW Kwar hydropower project on Chenab river

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved an investment of Rs 4,526.12 crore for the 540 MW Kwar Hydroelectric Project in Kishtwar district, Jammu & Kashmir. The project is part of the Indus basin and is one of at least four projects coming up in the district, including the Pakal Dul and Kiru Hydroelectric projects.

The project, which will be commissioned in 54 months, will generate 1,975.54 million units of electricity in a 90 percent dependable year. It will be built, owned, operated, and maintained (BOOM) by Chenab Valley Power Projects Ltd. with an aggregate installed capacity of 3,094 MW. (Business Standard, The Indian Express)

Delhi government launches various projects to prevent shortage of water

In order to combat water scarcity, the Delhi government has approved the construction of two catchment reservoirs along the Yamuna to ensure taps do not run dry.

One of the reservoirs will come in a 460-acre area on the western bank of the river, north of the Wazirabad reservoir, and will have a capacity to store 1735 million gallons of floodwater. A smaller reservoir of 20 acres would be constructed slightly away from the Yamuna but within the catchment area to restore 220 million gallons of water.

Also, Delhi's environment minister has launched a pilot project to ecologically restore the central ridge, involving the replacement of invasive Mexican trees ‘vilayati kikar’ with indigenous species. The ‘vilayati kikar’ doesn’t allow another species to thrive and leads to water table depletion. (The Times of India, The Print)

NGT imposes fine of Rs 25 crore on Vedanta’s Odisha plant

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a fine of Rs 25 crore on Vedanta Limited in view of violation of environmental norms by expanding its plants at Lanjigarh in Odisha’s Kalahandi district.

As per the green court, the company has partly undertaken expansion without prior environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC). It also withdrew water from the Tel river.

However, the company has argued that it has invested Rs 50,000 crore and has undertaken all mitigation measures for the protection of the environment. The NGT has directed the company to deposit the amount with the State Pollution Control Board within one month to be kept in a separate account to be utilised for the restoration of the environment. (Business Standard)

NHRC takes note of newly married women unable to cope with extreme water shortages in Nasik village

As per the recent media reports, women in Dandichi Bari village of Nasik district in Maharashtra have to walk for almost three hours to fill a pot of water and that too in a hilly terrain and odd hours. Unable to cope with the crisis, the newly married brides are leaving their in-laws houses.

Taking note of the situation, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notice to the Chief Secretary of the Maharashtra government and Secretary of the Jal Shakti Ministry seeking a detailed report on the matter within six weeks.

The report should include the steps being taken or proposed to be taken to redress the grievance of the residents of this village and the present status regarding the availability of drinking water in the area, said the commission. (The Print)

This is a roundup of important policy matters from April 19 – May 5, 2022. Also, read the news this fortnight.

Post By: Swati Bansal