Chhattisgarh Congress president Bhupesh Baghel has written to Union Coal Minister Piyush Goyal raising objections to the reported allocation of a coal block in Madanpur South area of the state.
Baghel argued that the area, which has been allotted to Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation, is in the catchment area of the Hasdev river and is a threat to its existence.
Baghel also pointed out that in assessments carried out by the Environment Ministry itself, 20 blocks in Hasdev have been declared “no-go” areas.
“The Hasdev Bango Minimata dam is in this very area and irrigates 2.55 lakh hectares of area from Janjgir to Raigarh. This also provides water to Korba district and is the source of 15000 megawatts of power distribution in Korba,” Baghel wrote, adding that areas in Janjgir were already struggling with water shortage because of drought in previous years.
Baghel said the coal block would displace many tribals and disturb the habitat of elephants as well. His letter says the Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation intends only to sell the coal once procured, raising questions on why it was necessary to mine in an ecologically sensitive zone.