'Exclude coal blocks in Cgh's Hasdeo forest from auctioning'

Raipur, Jun 21 (PTI) Chhattisgarh Forest Minister Mohammad Akbar has urged the Centre not to allow auctioning of coal blocks located in Hasdeo forest, proposed Lemru elephant reserve and the catchment areas of the Mand river in the state so as to protect environment.

The minister has written a letter to Union Minister for Environment and Forests Prakash Javdekar, a state government official said on Sunday.

Central and northern regions in Chhattisgarh are densely forested and have abundant coal reserve.

Presently, mining activities are already being carried out by various Central, state and private firms in theses region, the forest minister said in the letter.

However, the auction of coal blocks in the catchment areas of the two important rivers Hasdeo and Mand is also proposed in these regions, he said.

Notably, the state government recently decided to declare 1,995 sq km of the area adjoining the Hasdeo river as Lemru Elephant Reserve, in view of the continuous increase in the population of pachyderms and to prevent incidents of human-elephant conflicts, he said.

Citing the conservation measures being taken in the regions, Akbar has requested the union minister to exclude the coal blocks located in Hasdeo forest, adjoining areas of the Mand river and areas within the purview of the proposed elephant reserve, from auctioning to be conducted by the Centre, the official said. PTI TKP NSK NSK