Aditya Birla Group’s Essel Mining and Industries Limited (EMIL) plans to cut 2.15 lakh trees in the Buxwaha forest for a diamond mine.
Buxwaha forest is in the Chhatarpur district, close to Panna in Madhya Pradesh. As per the estimation, there are 342 million carats of diamonds in the Buxwaha forest. However in order to get to these diamonds, the valuable natural resources of this forest -- herbal plants and other trees will have to be felled. The mining project will destroy 382.131 hectares of forest. Is it worth it?
Why is this important?
The forest’s natural resources provide for the livelihood of 5,000 tribal people. The project was vehemently opposed back in 2014 citing environmental damage and the eviction of tribal people who have lived here for generations.
But in 2019, the Madhya Pradesh government issued a tender to auction the forest for the mining project. And Aditya Birla Group’s Essel Mining and Industries Limited won the tender. The MP government has leased 62.64 hectares of treasured forest land to the Birla Group for the next fifty years.
According to the forest department’s census there are 2,15,875 trees in the forest of Buxwaha. To carry out this excavation, a treasure trove of the forest's natural resources, including Teak, Ken, Behda, Banyan, Jamun, Tendu, Arjuna, and other medicinal trees that total up to 2,15,875 will have to be cut down.
The locals are vehemently against this. And for good reason!
Also, the project cost is estimated to be around 55000 crores. When the mining would happen in 62.64 hectares of the area, why is the company seeking 382.13 hectares of land? The 382.13 additional area of forest will be used for setting up supporting infrastructure for the project. The 2.15 lakh trees that would be cut is majorly to accommodate the supporting infrastructure.
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Apex Court against ESSEL Mining and Aditya Birla group, seeking a stay on the project. It is stated that the Court should stop the respondents from vandalising the nation's natural resources in the name of development. The petition points out that by permitting deforestation, the government has violated Environmental Laws, and the fundamental rights of the people in the area.
While we wait for the verdict from the court, we can gather support and add our voices to this campaign. Can you imagine losing over 2 lakh trees?
Sign the petition. Demand Mr Prakash Javedekar to not give clearances to mining for Diamonds at Buxwaha forest.