‘No -Go’ forests approved for mining: CSE probe
Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III – Environment
- Recently, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) probe has found that software was tweaked to clear blocks in dense forests for cold blocks auction.
- These dense forests are known as ‘No-Go’ areas or forests.
- Investigation details:
- Since 2015, 9 out of 49 blocks cleared for coal mining were in ‘No-Go’ areas, or regions that were once classified by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change as containing very dense forests and hence closed to coal mining.
- In 2020, of the 41 blocks put up for auction, 21 feature in the original No-Go list.
- A two stage e-auction is being adopted for the allocation of these mines.
- It is a part of the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.
- It was also revealed through RTI that 67% of the mines auctioned since 2015 were not operational yet.
- From 2015-2020, the government tried to auction 112 mines, but succeeded in only 42 cases.
- Several potential coal reserves are located in dense forests particularly in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
- The government determined which of them were too ecologically important to touch, and which were amenable to be opened up using ‘decision support system software’.
- In some cases, results of the software evaluation were tweaked to make ‘No-Go’ land into ‘Go-forests’.