State Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray has written to the central government opposing the auction of a coal mining site near Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in Chandrapur district, stating that it will lead to destruction of wildlife corridor.
Thackeray on Monday wrote to Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar urging him to protect the area. “Due to coal mines and reduction in tiger reserves, the man-animal conflict is increasing in Chnadrapur district. So, we need to at least conserve the existing protected areas for wildlife and environment,” he wrote.
The Bander coal mine, located close to TATR, is one of the 41 coal mining sites in the country. The Ministry of Coal has invited bids for its auction.
Thackeray’s opposition to the auction of a coal mining site comes days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the auction process of 41 coal blocks for commercial mining last week. It was part of the series of announcements made by the Union government under the Atma-Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self-reliant India).
“We cannot have such destruction of our wildlife corridors,” said Thackeray in a tweet. He further said the auction had been scrapped twice in the past in 1999 and 2011 after evaluation.
“Then why once again must we waste time and energy over a futile process when we know that it will destroy the wildlife corridor of Tadoba and Andhari?” asked Thackeray.
The minister further said the then Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had stopped this destruction after conducting a survey. “Reports suggest that the mine site is not suitable at all. I urge Union Minister Prakash Javadekar to protect this area again,” he added.
Government officials said the Bander coal mine site is in the wildlife corridor. “The then forest officials and the TATR directors had also opposed the auction in the past. The (coal mining) site will disturb the tiger reserve and forest reserve in central India,” said an official.
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