No response to Deo letter,activists eye legal remedy

V K C Deo,in his letter had said forest clearance to Mahan Coal Block was a blatant violation of the FRA

Written by Milind Ghatwai | Bhopal | Published: August 15, 2013 12:41 am

After drawing a blank from the Chief Minister and Governor,the Mahan Sangharsh Samiti (MSS) and activists on Wednesday decided to legally pursue their demand for implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) in the Mahan forests of Singrauli district.

Union Tribal Affairs Minister V K C Deo,in his letter to CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Governor Ramnaresh Yadav,had said that forest clearance to Mahan Coal Block was a blatant violation of the FRA. He had pointed out that the Gram Sabha resolution of March 6 contained forged signatures.

Neither the CM nor the Governor has replied to Deo nearly two months after they received the letters.

Last year,the MoEF gave stage-I (in principle) clearance to Mahan Coal Limited,an Essar-Hindalco joint venture,on 36 conditions. One of the conditions was the implementation of the FRA. A Greenpeace India campaigner,Priya Pillai,said the state government gave the NOC to MCL on the basis of a fraudulent resolution. Pillai alleged that while 184 people attended the March 6 meeting in Amelia,the resolution contained 1,125 signatures. Pillai claimed that most of the signatures were forged and the resolution even included names of at least six people who were dead.

Admitting that there was a delay in responding to Deo’s letter,a bureaucrat said the government had forwarded the letter to the state forest department but was yet to get a reply. When asked about the allegations,the bureaucrat said the matter had been discussed threadbare by the Forest Advisory Committee,Union ministries and the GoM.

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