The proposed coal mining project of Adani Mining Private Limited at Lohara, on the outskirts of Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR), suffered yet another blow when the minister of state for coal Shriprakash Jaiswal stated that the ministry could cancel such leases in eco-sensitive areas, wildlife areas, around sanctuaries and national parks. Moreover, Jaiswal has promised not to consider such proposals in future.
"I hope that the ministry will now cancel the lease allotted to Adani Power Limited at Lohara," said Kishor Rithe, president of Satpuda Foundation, an NGO working for wildlife and tiger conservation in central India. There are around eight such leases granted around TATR. Even after operating in an open cast mine, the companies have gone for underground mining which is disastrous for the ecology, he added.
The ministry of coal, government of India, vide its letter No. 38011/1/2007-CA-I dated November 6, 2007, had allotted a coal block on 1573.86 hectares of forest land and 81.81 hectares of non-forest land, identified as Lohara West and Lohara extension coal block in the command area of Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) to Adani Power Limited.
This was done to meet the coal requirement for their 1000 MW power plant at Tiroda, in Gondia district. The company had applied to the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF), government of India, for the grant of environment clearance to their mining lease as per the provision of EIA notification 2006.
The issue turned serious and environmentalists, including local nature lovers, had unanimously opposed the move.
"It will be a big relief for forests and wildlife in Vidarbha," said Prof Nishikant Kale, President of Nature Conservation Society, Amravati, who had opposed the proposal of Lohara mine by giving written submission to the chairman of public hearing at Chandrapur.
DNA / June 24, 2009