Chhattisgarh’s nod for coal block auction raises environmental worries
COAL & MINING

Chhattisgarh’s nod for coal block auction raises environmental worries

The Chhattisgarh government’s approval of auction for 17 of the state's 18 coal blocks identified by the central government has raised wildlife environmental concerns.

Activists believe the approval was given although there has been no increase in coal demand.

Agriculture minister and government spokesperson Ravindra Chaubey told the media that due to the presence of a major human settlement in the area, Barra was exempted from the auction.

The decision to remove the Barra coal block from the list was made at the request of public representatives and ministers, Chaubey told the media.

Chhattisgarh produces around 150 million tonnes of coal per year and has 58,589 million tonnes of reserves, according to official data. The 17 blocks are located in the forest divisions of Dharamjaigarh, Sarguja, Surajpur, and Koriya, and are expected to produce around 8,000 million tonnes of coal.

A large forest area falls under the region where the blocks are located, according to MSTC Limited, the company that is conducting the auctions for the Centre. According to the company's website, the coal blocks cover 15 % to 40 % of forest land. The area is crossed by tributaries of the Atem, Mahan, Pajhar Nadi, and Kelo rivers.

Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan convener Alok Shukla told the media that the state government should have opposed commercial mining because the state is already suffering from environmental destruction and displacement. Because of the low rates, Shukla added, the state government will not receive any additional revenue.

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Also read: Govt gets bids for 19 coal mines in commercial mining auction

Also read: Coal mine auctions: Commercial tranche 2 gains traction

The Chhattisgarh government’s approval of auction for 17 of the state's 18 coal blocks identified by the central government has raised wildlife environmental concerns. Activists believe the approval was given although there has been no increase in coal demand. Agriculture minister and government spokesperson Ravindra Chaubey told the media that due to the presence of a major human settlement in the area, Barra was exempted from the auction. The decision to remove the Barra coal block from the list was made at the request of public representatives and ministers, Chaubey told the media. Chhattisgarh produces around 150 million tonnes of coal per year and has 58,589 million tonnes of reserves, according to official data. The 17 blocks are located in the forest divisions of Dharamjaigarh, Sarguja, Surajpur, and Koriya, and are expected to produce around 8,000 million tonnes of coal. A large forest area falls under the region where the blocks are located, according to MSTC Limited, the company that is conducting the auctions for the Centre. According to the company's website, the coal blocks cover 15 % to 40 % of forest land. The area is crossed by tributaries of the Atem, Mahan, Pajhar Nadi, and Kelo rivers. Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan convener Alok Shukla told the media that the state government should have opposed commercial mining because the state is already suffering from environmental destruction and displacement. Because of the low rates, Shukla added, the state government will not receive any additional revenue. Image Source Also read: Govt gets bids for 19 coal mines in commercial mining auction Also read: Coal mine auctions: Commercial tranche 2 gains traction

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