Hindustan Times reported that India’s coal ministry has issued a notification on its intention to acquire 712.072 hectares and all rights over the land for mining coal in Madanpur South coal block in Korba district of Chhattisgarh, whose government has been considering declaring the rich forest area an elephant reserve. According to the notification published on December 24, 489.274 hectares is protected forest land and 159.327 hectares comprises revenue and other forest land.
The intention to acquire the land has been notified under provisions of the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act. The law says that if the central government is satisfied that coal is obtainable from a tract of land, it can give notice of its intention to acquire it. But diversion of the forest land for non-forest use hasn’t taken place yet because the Chhattisgarh government was considering declaring it an elephant reserve.
Environmental activists and legal researchers have raised several concerns with the intention to acquire large biodiversity rich forest land located in the Hasdeo Arand region, one of the largest contiguous stretches of very dense forests in central India spanning 170,000 hectares which has 22 coal blocks underneath.