Modi Government Pushes For Coal Over Forest Wipe
India’s forests in Chattisgarh are facing the danger of losing their self as Narendra Modi government moves ahead to wipe them out. The Hasdeo Arand 420,000 acres of forest in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, it is confirmed is sitting above an estimated 5 billion tonnes of coal.
There are efforts being made to fell these forests in order to extract the coal and create some 40 coal mines- all this towards the Self Reliant India dream that Modi has been carrying around in his heart.
At danger now is this ecologically sensitive forest cover which is too heavy a cost to pay, for India to go free of imports and recover from the losses in the economy post the Covid-19 lockdown situations.
Up until now, coal has been a state owned venture. But with the introduction of 40 new coal mines, there are plans to open bids to private players too. Atleast seven of the coal blocks which are up for auctions have already hit roadblocks due to the sensitivity of their locations. Four state governments – West Bengal, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh – are known to have already written to Modi in opposition or raised legal objections to the auction, and one coal block, which overlapped with the Tadoba tiger reserve in Maharashtra, has already been removed.
A few months back, there was news about India moving towards green fuel and renewable sources of energy. But the use of coal comes has a shock. Additionally, as the world governments gear up to move towards a “green recovery” post Covid-19, India is seemingly playing its own tune. The United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, said been seen recently saying that “no good reason for any country to include coal” in recovery plans – India is putting fossil fuel at the forefront of its strategy to turn the pandemic into economic opportunity. Strangely, PM Narendra Modi has been recorded saying as he announced the coal auction project “Why cannot India be the world’s largest exporter of coal?” This is not good news for the environmental concerns surrounding all these rich reservoirs of coal. Many villages and ecosystems are at stake.