Ms Deepanwita Gita Niyogi in an article in The Scroll reported that iron ore mining is driving deforestation in Chhattisgarh and hurting its Adivasis. The latest data by the Chhattisgarh forest department reveals that at least 4,920 hectares of forest land have been diverted over the past few years for mining of iron ore in Chhattisgarh. The massive diversion of forest areas is also leading to local people and experts raising concerns related to the environment and rights of the Adivasi communities guaranteed under the Forest Rights Act, 2006. The Adivasi communities depend on forests, and if they vanish, the communities will face a dark futureThe Bastar region in south Chhattisgarh comprises the heavily forested area dominated by Adivasi communities who depend on forests for livelihood. But the leases granted for iron ore mining which require large-scale clearance of forests is threatening the lives of the local people. In some cases, the locals allege that the permissions have been secured using fake documents. For instance, in the Narayanpur district, Jayaswal Neco Industries Limited was granted the lease for mining iron ore in about 192 hectares of reserve forest area in Aamdai Ghati, a hilly area full of ore deposits. The mining started in 2016 and now the company wants to enhance production even as the region has witnessed severe opposition to the project. The local people alleged that the consent of the gram sabha was not taken for seeking diversion of forests in the area.The Rowghat mine in the Matla reserve forest spanning both Kanker and Narayanpur districts attracted considerable attention due to deforestation. Rowghat has the second largest deposit of iron ore in the state with an estimated reserve of 731 million tonnes. There have been violations in the forest as well as environmental clearances. Though the consent of the gram sabha has been taken, it is not under the true spirit of the law. There is no clarity on the number of villages that will be affected and the extent of forest cover lost. Steel Authority of India Limited’s Bhilai Steel Plant, which has got the lease of 2,028.79 hectares, says on record that 16 villages will be impacted by mining in the core area but I feel over 30 villages will be affectedIn the Dantewada district, about 315 hectares of forest has been proposed for diversion for the Bailadila iron ore mine project deposit 13 at Kirandul. It is being developed as part of a joint venture between the National Mineral Development Corporation and the Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation based in Raipur. It is also a hilly and forested area, and the people of the Adivasi community are severely against it as they consider one of the hills, Nandraj, sacred.Chhattisgarh is home to some of India’s most precious forests but it is also an area rich in minerals such as iron ore. According to the Chhattisgarh government, the iron ore deposits in the state are found in rocks that form a part of the discontinuous hill range of 370 kilometres in length that spans several districts such as Dantewada, Bastar, Kanker, Narayanpur, Rajnandgaon, Durg and Kabirdham. Chhattisgarh has 4,031 million tonnes of iron ore reserve (hematite) which accounts for about 19% of the total iron ore reserves in India.