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Welcome step, rarest of rare: Chhattisgarh seeks cancellation of coal blocks auction

By Shankar Sharma* 

The news item, Stop auction of 9 coal blocks: Chhattisgarh to Centre, if it has been reported objectively, can be viewed as one of the rarest of rare wise decision of a state govt. in recent years to protect the legitimate rights of its communities, and also of the flora, fauna and microorganisms, which have no voice of their own to protest. The same should be lauded by one and all, and should be emulated by all other states, while the Union govt. should also appreciate the associated larger welfare issues.
The associated issues to a society on mining, or any other large size project are similar, and will always lead to unacceptable problems / costs to the locals and to the environment, either directly or indirectly. It can be stated without any hesitation that the global society, certainly Indian society, will not be able to satisfactorily address the issue of global warming without addressing such fundamental livelihood/ environmental issues.
What is deplorable is the fact that our country is not diligently considering multiple options to avoid the societal level costs/ problems associated with almost all of such large size projects, especially in the power/ energy sector. Since coal usage has been accepted as the primary contributor to Climate Change, and since the country is bestowed with a humongous potential in renewable energy sources, there can be no reason as to why our country should see the opening of more coal mines at unacceptable costs to society.
Can we hope, now at least, that the Union govt. will realise the calamitous future ahead of our society in continuing to plunder our natural resources without any diligent consideration of the consequences in future?
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*Power & Climate Policy Analyst

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