By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Oct 7: Greenpeace on Sunday demanded that the Indian
government relook at its massive expansion of coal mining in forest
areas by introducing a moratorium for new coal mines.
The Greenpeace’ demand comes on the eve of the 11th Conference of
Parties (COP) to the United Nations Convention on Biological
Diversity, which begins on Monday. The Government’s present policy of
increasing coal mining is destroying the environment including the
habitat for the endangered Indian tiger. It is also forcing tens of
thousands of people to leave their homes.
A Greenpeace mapping study shows that 13 coalfields in the central
Indian landscape alone will destroy more than 1.1 million hectares of
pristine woodland. As a consequence of this environmental vandalism
over 14,000 tribal people in one region alone will lose their homes
and livelihoods, with many indigenous communities being forcibly
removed and placed into so called ‘rehabilitation centres’ with no way
to earn a living.
Samit Aich, Executive Director from Greenpeace, said “India’s mad dash
to mine coal is destroying the precious biological assets that this
country should be protecting. Instead of showing leadership as the
host of this prestigious conference, the government is leading the way
on the destruction of tens of thousands of hectares of forest.”
The COP 11 has the powers to agree to future international agreements
to protect the planet’s biodiversity.
“It is important to recognise that all the world’s oceans are
connected that is why we are asking the Indian Government to take a
more active role internationally by advocating ocean protection. If
the Indian Government adopts these measures, then they will become an
international leader in supporting sustainable oceans,” the Greenpeace
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