Rampant coal mining in Chandrapur and its surrounding areas in Maharashtra pose a grave threat to tigers. A fact-finding team, comprising of Praveen Bhargav, Biswajit Mohanty and environment lawyer Rahul Choudhary, released its findings and recommendations in a report titled, “Undermining Tadoba’s tigers” said that no new mines should be given forest clearance in the region and further expansion of mines in operation should be stopped. The team has visited the area in September of this year, interacted with villagers, miners, environmentalists, government officials and businessmen and came out with a 66 page report on the issue. As per the 2010 NTCA report, the greater Chandrapur landscape has between 66 to 74 tigers. Coal mining is threatening connectivity between forest patches that are crucial for long term survival of tigers. The report also flatly contradicts the recent report of BK Chaturvedi committee setup by a group of ministers on coal. The Chaturvedi report recommended relaxing environmental safeguards to facilitate an expansion in coal mining. The fact-finding team has called the Chaturvedi report highly irresponsible and that if accepted, the report will be a death warrant for large forest areas across India.
Read the report by the fact-finding panel in the articles section of CI.