‘It was a set-up, we were fooled’: the coal mine that ate an Indian village

Ankur Paliwal in The Guardian:

The village was located in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, on the edge of the dense Hasdeo Arand forest. One of India’s few pristine and contiguous tracts of forest, Hasdeo Arand sprawls across more than 1,500 sq km. The land is home to rare plants such as epiphytic orchids and smilax, endangered animals such as sloth bears and elephants, and sal trees so tall they seem to brush against the sky.

The forest also contains an estimated 5bn tonnes of coal. This coal is located close to the surface, which makes it easy to mine. The federal government has divided the region into 23 “coal blocks”, six of which it has approved for mining. The Adani Group has bagged the contracts to mine four of those six, including the one that encompasses Kete and adjoining villages. The construction of these mines will destroy at least 1,898 hectares of forest land. The specific coal block under Kete has about 450m tonnes of coal, worth about $5bn.

More here.