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Mahan coal mining: Gram sabha to be held in 3rd week of Aug

Mahan Sangharsh Samiti and Greenpeace India have welcomed the


decision
Shashikant Trivedi | Bhopal
July 21, 2014 Last Updated at 19:42 IST
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The gram sabha to decide on coal mining in Mahan will be reconvened during
second and third week of August this year. After convening the Gram Sabha
and subsequent consent of the villagers of the area of Mahan forest, the fate
of Mahan Coal Ltd and the villagers will be decided.
"We will convene a Gram Sabha afresh to take consent of the villagers since
their legal right on the land has been sanctioned recently. Any mining activity
cannot be permitted till the legal right can be settled. The gram sabha will
decide whether the mining will take place or not," M Selvendran, district
collector told Business Standard telephonically.
Mahan Sangharsh Samiti and Greenpeace India have welcomed the decision
and said the new Gram Sabaha will decide the fate of the project and the
people of the area.
"It is a victory of the movement of the people who are fighting since long,"
Priya Pillai of Mahan Sangharsh Samiti said.
A meeting between district collector M Selvendran and members of Mahan
Sangharsh Samiti was organized today in Singrauli. Recently, the Jabalpur
High Court had ordered the Superintendent of Police to investigate in the
matter.
Greenpeace India had moved High Court with a complaint that a there were
some irregularities in the Gram Sabha that was convened last year. It had
alleged that consent for clearance to Mahan Ltd for coal mining was given
based on fraudulent signatures of people who were dead.
Following this approval the Mahan Coal Ltd was given second stage
clearance from Union Environment Ministry.
However, the district collector clarified, this Gram Sabha would be a fresh
initiative to decide if the legal rights be settled and the project should be
given go-ahead for mining. The Gram Sabha may veto the project.

The Mahan Coal Limited, a joint venture between Essar Power Limited and
Hindalco Industries Limited, was formed in 2006 to develop the coal block
and Gram Sabha was necessary under Forest Rights Act 2006. Mahan block
is a part of Mohan Ban Reserve Forest which is spread over an area of 925.30
sq km and the area of Mahan Coal block is only 9.8 sq km. There are nine
continuous coal blocks in that area; and Mahan is one of them. Essar is
setting up its power project while Aditya Birla group company Hindalco is
setting up a large scale Alumina project in Singarauli.

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