The expansion of Durgapur’s open-cast coal mine is being opposed by the residents of Chandrapur city

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Chandrapur (Mohammad Suleman Baig):

On 5th June, on the occasion of World Environment Day, the Tadoba Conservation Committee took initiatives for the protection of forests, tigers, and wildlife conservation. As part of the global environmental day, environmental activists and ordinary citizens from Chandrapur city also organized events to showcase their opposition to the expansion of the Durgapur open-cast coal mine located in Chandrapur city.

The Durgapur open-cast coal mine located in Chandrapur city has been operational for many years. Due to this mine, there has already been a reduction in water, forest, and tiger habitats, leading to a conflict between wildlife and human beings in the area.

In the year 2022, Chandrapur district in Maharashtra witnessed the highest number of 53 human-wildlife conflicts. While such conflicts exist in various parts of Asia, Chandrapur district has become a focal point for human-wildlife conflicts in India. In light of this situation, environmental activists from Chandrapur have directly visited the mining areas and raised their voices, demanding that the state and central governments take immediate action to prevent further encroachment on forest and wildlife habitats in the district.

The Maharashtra government and the Ministry of Environment, Government of India, have given approval for mining in this area. Approximately 300 acres (121.58 hectares) of highly dense forest land has been granted clearance for coal mining. This mining block was allocated to Adani Coal 13 years ago and is located near the village of Lagoon, Seonar in Chandrapur district. Due to the presence of a few tigers and numerous wildlife species in this mining area, it will lead to environmental destruction in the Chandrapur region. Around 13,457 large trees and 64,349 bamboo clusters will be cut down for this coal mine. The residents of Chandrapur city are already afraid due to the pollution caused by the existing mines. This coal mine will further worsen the situation, leading to protests in Chandrapur district. The farmers and indigenous communities have expressed their concerns about the destruction of forests and wildlife habitats. Previously, the decrease in forest cover in the district has already caused the loss of 50 tigers, prompting the government to consider relocation. In order to reduce human-wildlife conflicts in Chandrapur district, two tigers have been sent to the Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary, and on the other hand, permission has been granted for coal mining in the forests of the district. In light of these developments, environmental organizations in this sacred district have taken steps to cancel the approval for this mining project. Chandrapur and Maharashtra already generate excess electricity and follow the principles of green energy, so there is no need to sacrifice forests, tigers, wildlife, and the Tadoba forest for coal mining. This mining project poses a threat to the Tadoba forest and the movement of tigers, which is why various social and wildlife organizations in Chandrapur organized a protest during the International Day of the Environment, under the federation called “Save Tadoba Committee.”

The controversial coal mining project in Chandrapur has received approval from various organizations such as the Forest Department, Government of Maharashtra, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, Wildlife Institute of India, and the National Tiger Conservation Authority. However, in order to protect the wildlife and tigers in the Chandrapur region, the matter will be taken to court, and the National Green Tribunal will be approached. The “Save Tadoba Committee” has taken up the responsibility to protect the habitats of wildlife and tigers. Therefore, environmental activists were present in Chandrapur city at 8:30 AM on the occasion of World Environment Day.

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