INDIA: A movement, #SaveHasdeo, has sparked in Korba, Chhattisgarh, to cancel the forest clearance granted to Gautam Adani for coal mining. This massive movement has erupted in Hasdeo as well as Bilaspur, which is carried out by poor indigenous Adivasis along with some social activists. Licypriya Kangujam, a child environmental activist, also joined the protest on October 14-15.
Hasdeo Aranya, the largest and oldest tract of forest land in central India, is home to the indigenous Gond tribe, who are in danger of losing their rights to the land, the forest, and their home.
The biodiverse Hasdeo forests made the Adani-operated PEKB coal mine, Parsa coal mine, and Kete Extension a “no-go” zone for coal mining. However, after Ashok Gehlot, the chief minister of Rajasthan, and Bhupesh Baghel, the chief minister of Chhattisgarh, met on April 26, Adani got the forest clearance permission within 2 days for the last 2 mines.
The Bhagel government approved coal mining in around 1200 hectares of lush forests. The coal blocks were given to Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd., which is run by Adani.
In 2015, Rahul Gandhi promised the Madanpur tribals that he and the Congress party would not permit the destruction of the Hasdeo Arand forests by the politician-business alliance.
During his tour of Korba, Chhattisgarh, in 2015, he said, “This forest is your forest. Your life is mixed with this forest. If this jungle ends, your life, as well as your children’s lives, will end. So I want to tell you that the Congress party and I are standing by your side, and we are not going anywhere.” As of now, when Rahul Gandhi has forgotten his promise to fight for the Hasdeo and Adivasi people, people are putting light on it by expressing their views.
11-year-old Licypriya Kangujam, Indigenous Climate Activist and Founder of ChildMovement, tweeted a post calling Rahul Gandhi a liar. She wrote, “Mr Rahul Gandhi Ji is a liar. He promised to save the Hasdeo forest from coal mining before the Chhattisgarh General Election, but today, after his party took power, CM @ Bhupesh Baghel granted Adani forest clearance in two days. This is unacceptable! “
Chhotubhai Vasava, MLA of Jhagadia Assembly Constituency, also expressed his emotions by writing on Twitter. He wrote, “Kick out Adani from Hasdeo. The Adivasis have been demanding to put a stop to the illegal felling of trees. The government is shamelessly protecting Adani and its interests over the Adivasi people and their rights.”
According to analysis, only 2% of India’s coal reserves are in the Hasdeo forest, 15% are in dense forests, and the remaining 85% are either not near the forest or in a very small forest.
India’s Hasdo forest is a rich biodiversity hotspot with 170,000 hectares of forest land and is home to over 20,000 native Adivasi along with over 450 species of flora and fauna.