Save Buxwaha Forest, A Diamond VS People war
The “clearing up” process is what we need right now to ensure us, the citizens of India a peaceful and accountable democracy. This process is no less than an emergency, we need to clear up all those minds that are determined to introduce rules and laws that cause a threat to us, the citizens of India, by playing with our rights, denying us the experience of a real democracy. But what do we get? We get the “clearing up” for this and that, for diamonds and coals and mining. Yes, the clearing up we get is a foolish sport that does no good. “Killing of the forest” is what we get. The Buxwaha Project aims to kill the precious Buxwaha Forest. This is a raging diamond vs. forest war. The destruction of two lakh trees for 34 million carats of diamonds, with the investment cost of at least Rs. 2500 crore. The land has a high potential of becoming one of the largest diamond mines in the Asian region. Many people and activists are against this large-scale destruction, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has already been filed in the Supreme Court. Social media campaigns like Save Buxwaha Forest have been launched.
The protestors say that this project will destroy the flora and fauna, this involves the usage of a huge amount of water, and this can create more problems for the people in the water distressed areas.
Forest V/S Diamonds
Madhya Pradesh is not experiencing a protest-like situation for Buxwaha for the first time, back in the year 2006, an Australian company Rio Tinto was given the license to explore and discover diamond mining in the Buxwaha region. The locals were totally against this
project, as this was a huge threat to the ecology system. The company decided to withdraw their application, they in fact submitted a report to the Madhya Pradesh
government, and this report included no reasons for the withdrawal. Even after this, the government came up with another Buxwaha Clearing Project in 2021. Specific reasons for people’s anger for this “clearance project” are adverse effects to the nature & ecological misbalance. Loss of livelihood and jobs is also one fear of the locals.
The locals say that they have been promised jobs, but they still fear losing everything (jobs). The huge amount of water required will deplete the groundwater badly, and this will have adverse effects on the people as well as impact the quality of agriculture and farming.
The Vocal Local
The country’s biggest diamond exploration, led by the Aditya Birla Groups Firm, Essel Mining is being highly criticized by the locals and activists. There is a valid fear of the loss of huge varieties of trees, including other medicinal trees. “The fight of the people has just begun to protect forests and wildlife, people state that despite consistent mining activity in the Panna region, there has been no development of the people, the condition of the area on the ground remains rife with malnutrition and poverty. Those living around the forest lands are dependent on it, moreover, mining activity in the region could worsen the water woes and environmental degradation in the region” says Beerendra, an activist from Tejpur associated with the movement against Buxwaha Mining. This forest is located in the Bundelkhand region, where the people already face issues due to malnutrition, water scarcity, and migration. The project site is 20 km away from the Buffer zone of the Panna Tiger reserve, the execution of this project will damage the wildlife corridor between the Nauradehi wildlife sanctuary and the reserve. Abhishek Jain, a local youngster protesting to save the forest says, “The company has promised to employ 400 people but these
jobs will be for skilled workers. So the locals won’t be employed.” Jain also says that he along with other protestors will organize a Chipko Movement if the Essel goes ahead with the mining work. Mining not only impacts the environment, but the overall well-being and
the health of the people as the pollution generated will badly impact the water and air. According to Environmental activist Hari Krishna Dwivedi, The whole Bundelkhand region is facing a water crisis and the forest is essential for the local ecology. A notable statement made by Pradyuman Singh, the Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Bada Malhera .
“The protestors are mentally diseased and frustrated who did not want any development”. The area proposed for a mining lease is a part of roughly 3000 hectares of Buxwaha protected forest. Of the total, 364 hectares are for the Bunder mining project. The question here is, will this destructive project be executed despite all the strong protests and criticism? Will the voice of the people be heard this time? Or will we again get a glimpse
of where we stand as a democracy, nowhere?.
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Article By : Anshika Barai
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