Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Vidarbha MPs join hands, write to PM on Adani mine issue-Times of India - Ramu Bhagwat

Vidarbha MPs join hands, write to PM on Adani mine issue

Times of India - Ramu Bhagwat
NAGPUR: A day after Chandrapur city rallied in total support of environmentalists protesting the proposed coal mines threatening one of the last remaining tiger havens in the country, seven members of parliament from Vidarbha joined hands to show their support to the cause. What mattered most was these MPs are from desperate parties who rarely see eye-to eye on any issue.

Forgetting their political affiliations, Congress MPs led by Vilas Muttemwar (Nagpur), Datta Meghe (Wardha), Marotrao Kowase (Gadchiroli), BJP's Hansraj Ahir ( Chandrapur), Sanjay Dhotre (Akola) and Shiv Sena's Anandrao Adsul (Amravati) and Pratap Jadhav (Buldhana) wrote a joint letter to prime minister Manmohan Singh drawing his attention to the colossal damage that the Adani mines would cause in the vicinity of the famous Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR).

"Adani Power Ltd has been allocated 1,750 hectares of rich forest land having coal reserves at Lohara neat Tadoba. We are of the considered view, based on incontrovertible information, that operation of the proposed opencast coal mine will cause irreparable damage to the rich biodiversity in and around TATR and seriously endanger the very existence of the tiger. There are 45 tigers in the reserve forest, rated as the best in the country in terms of tiger density," the letter signed by the seven MPs read. The letter was handed over to the PM by Muttemwar and Meghe, two seniormost leaders from Vidarbha.

A whopping 1,600 hectares of the land allocated to the private company supports rich forest from which over 12 lakh full grown trees will be cut down for the mining work, The biodiversity mainly comprises 18 animal species, nine of which including tiger and leopard are endangered species, 75 species of trees, 35 species of shrubs and herbs, 16 species of bamboo and grass and 21 species of climbers. As per the environmental impact analysis, the environmental cost would be a mind boggling Rs 2.78 billion, the letter has mentioned. The mining operation sp close to a protected forest negates the government's very own conservation policy on which billions are spent to protect tigers, the letter has noted.

The MPs have also suggested that Adani could be given an allocated some alternatives mining blocks where there is no damage to forest and wildlife. "Or the company may be advised to use coal which it regularly imports for the proposed power plant to come up at Tiroda in Gondia district. This way power can be produced without sacrificing rich forests, rare biodiversity and endangered tiger," the letter concludes.

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