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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Resource Abuse!

WHEN Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan went on an “indefinite” fast in February to protest the Centre’s “continued discrimination” against the state, one of his grudges was the delay in the allocation of a coal block to a joint venture of two companies that has invested thousands of crores of rupees in setting up industries in the backward region.
Chouhan called off his fast minutes after beginning it. But there is no let up in the demand for Mahan coal block. The Centre has bent all rules to suit the interest of the companies, Essar Power and Hindalco Industries.
So much so that instead of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests which is the statutory authority to grant forest clearance, for the first time, a Group of Ministers (GoM) is considering whether to divert more than 1,000 hectares (ha) of dense forest to Mahan Coal Ltd. It is a Rs 5,000-crore joint venture between the London Stock Exchange-listed power company Essar and the aluminium-manufacturing unit of Aditya Birla Group. The GoM is headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and includes coal and power ministers.
The Union coal ministry had in 2006 allocated the coal block in Singrauli district to a 1,000 MW power plant proposed by Essar and a 650 MW captive power plant of Hindalco. The coal block was given environmental clearance in December 2008. But before getting forest clearance, Mahan coal block was declared a no-go area, a zone where mining is prohibited because of dense forests. The concept was introduced by former Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh in 2010.

Read more: http://p1n.in/tul

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