Villagers of one of India’s most-impoverished areas broke down at a public hearing held here and asked Vedanta Resources officials to “kill them now rather than forcibly trying to take over their land”.
The mandatory public hearing was held by authorities to seek the consent of the villagers for the grant of environment clearance to mine coal in the region. The area’s coal reserves, estimated at 70.12 million tonnes, are spread out over 1,070 hectares in Taraimar under Dharmajaygarh block in Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh district, some 300 km from the state capital, Raipur.
The coal is needed to feed a 800 MW captive power plant of Vedanta Resources Plc-controlled Balco, in which the Central government holds 49 percent stake. The Balco (Bharat Aluminium Company) plant is located in Korba town in the state, some 80 from away from the public hearing site.