“After Rio Tinto’s exit, I felt that we have protected the Buxwaha forest from destruction, but the forest is still under threat”
“I suspect the agencies are hiding the facts about the number of trees supposed to be cut. I suppose it is not just 2,15,000 trees but it is over 5,00,000 trees that will be felled for the project. This time the battle is challenging because of Covid-19 restrictions.” – Environmental activist Hari Krishna Dwivedi
For a couple of weeks, a protest has been gaining momentum in central India’s Bundelkhand. It concerns a 382.131-hectare patch of the protected Buxwaha forest that is proposed to be allotted to the Bunder diamond block. The proposed Bunder diamond block in the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh has been in the news for the wrong reasons over the years. The diamond mine project, which is now with Aditya Birla Group’s Essel Mining & Industries Limited. The forest clearance report states that a total of 2,15,875 trees would have to be cut down in this area for the proposed mine.
Buxwaha forest lies in the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh, about 260 km northeast of the state capital of Bhopal. Amit Bhatnagar, a volunteer with ‘Buxwaha Jungle Bachao Andolan’, said, “The region is still considered backwards. Around 7,000 villagers of the 17 tribal villages in the territory depend solely on forest products, like Mahua, Tendu leaves, Chironji, Aamla, etc, for their livelihood. The proposed mine would snatch away their income sources. For example, Mahua earns a family about Rs 40,000 to Rs 1,00,000 in a season.”
The project is facing resistance due to ecological concerns and also because the locals fear it would lead to loss of livelihood.
Aniket Dikhit, a resident of the Kasera village, which is one of the closest villages to the mining site, said: “Despite the claims to provide jobs in mining, I feel the project will eat out the livelihood options in the area.”
“Our villagers are dependent on minor forest produce and water for farming,” Aniket Dikhit told Mongabay-India. “The project involves the diversion of a nullah which is a lifeline for the area. It ensures groundwater level and water for wildlife. I fear this project will lead to groundwater depletion as well.”
It is a matter of misfortune that the forest will be cut, along with it, thousands of animals living in the forest like peacocks, deer, Nilgai, Monkey, many birds etc. will all become homeless, as well as the name of a beautiful forest will be erased from the land of Bundelkhand.
More than two lakh trees are planned to be cut down in a large portion of Bakswaha forest in Chhatarpur district for diamond mining in the Bundelkhand region, which is being widely opposed. Ironically, most of the leaders of power and opposition who swore to save the environment have been silent about it. Today the fight continues against the cutting down of forest land for corporate profit, and for the tribals fighting for their forests and mountains.
Diamonds are not really important than forest, currently, We are facing many natural disasters due to unwanted changes in nature and we cannot afford such calamities anymore. So please come forward and raise your voice against deforestation and Mining.
Here is how you can take action
– Use social media to raise your voice against
– Use hashtag #SaveBuxwahaForest and #BuxwahaForest
– Tag Primeminister of India and urge him to stop this mining project
– Sign this two petition
This article is curated from the coverage of the Quint and Scroll. Please refer to these two articles to know about this in detail.