Villagers’ petition on Hasdeo Aranya dismissed by HC

HC says allotment of Parsa coal block is statutory

 

Bilaspur:There is a shortage of coal in the country, in such a situation it is not appropriate to intervene.

 

The legal battle of the villagers to save the Hasdeo Aranya forest from mining projects has suffered a major setback with Chhattisgarh High Court declaring Parsa coal block allocation as statutory. 

With it, the Division Bench of High Court Chief Justice Arup Kumar Goswami and Justice RCS Samant has dismissed the petitions of the villagers. 

The High Court has held that the Central Government has allotted Parsa coal block to Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam and the process of land acquisition for coal production. The court has also clarified that there is a shortage of coal across the country. In such a situation, it is not appropriate to interfere with any coal production company.

Villagers Mangal SaiThakur Ram, MotiramAnand Ram, Panik Ram and others had filed a petition in the High Court saying that they will be affected by the mining activities in Parsa coal block. 

It was said in the petition that the procedure prescribed for acquisition of coal-held land has also been violated. The entire area is covered with dense forest. Allowing mining will further increase the human-elephant conflict. At the same time, one lakh trees will be cut in the process. The petition demanded an immediate ban on felling of trees. After listening both the sides, the High Court had reserved its decision.

Rajasthan government has got permission

Senior advocate Dr Nirmal Shukla and advocate Shailendra Shukla appeared on behalf of Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam said that the Central Government has given permission to the Nigam for allocation of coal under its policies. Now there should be no objection to Rajasthan Nigam getting this work done by a private person or doing it itself. 

Objection to PESA law dismissed by Court

The court also rejected the objection of the petitioners in the case, in which it has been said that PESA is for the safety of the notified people in the tribal dominated area. Where the PESA Act is in force, the central and state governments cannot allow land acquisition. On this, the Central Government made it clear that the government has the right to acquire land by issuing a new notification in addition to the PESA Act in special circumstances where it is in the larger public interest and the interest of the country.

 

Supreme Court notice to government

The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Central Government, the State Government, Rajasthan Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited and Parsa Kete Collieries and sought a response in four weeks in a related matter. Advocate SudeepShrivastava had filed a petition in the Supreme Court. Senior advocate Prashant Bhushanargued the matter on Wednesday. He told the court, Hasdeo Aranya was declared a no go area. In this, the permission given to Parsa East Kete Basan mine was canceled by the National Green Tribunal in 2014 itself. The tribunal had also asked the Wildlife Institute of India and the Indian Council of Forestry Research to conduct a detailed study of the impacts of mining in the region. The Center continued to grant permissions to other mines without conducting such a study. Responding to the contention of Rajasthan Nigam and Mining Company regarding coal requirement, Prashant Bhushansaid that there are many coal blocks outside the No Go area where sufficient coal is available. In such a situation, mining should not be allowed in a forest rich in biodiversity. 

 

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