Maharashtra minister Vijay Wadettiwar on Wednesday said that the state government would oppose the Centre’s proposal to conduct coal mining near Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in Chandrapur district, as it would “destroy” the habitat of tigers. Bander coal block, located close to TATR, is one of the 41 mining sites in the country for which the Centre has invited bids for an auction.
According to the forest department, the Bander coal block falls in Chimur tehsil under Bramhapuri forest division. It is located very adjacent to the buffer zone boundary of the TATR.
Addressing a press conference here, Wadettiwar, who is Minister for Relief and Rehabilitation, said, “The state government will definitely oppose the proposed mining of Bander coal mine listed in the Central government’s e- auction.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the auction process of 41 coal blocks for commercial mining last week. “There is presence of six tigers in the area where Bander coal mining e-auction is proposed. The mining activities will destroy the corridor of these six tigers,” he said.
“State Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray had already expressed his displeasure over the issue…We will never allow coal mining at Bander and there will be no negotiations on the issue,” Wadettiwar, who also serves as the district guardian minister of Chandrapur, said. TATR is an internationally-known tiger reserve, which is flocked by tourists from across the world.
On the issue of water availability in Chandrapur, Wadettiwar asked the irrigation department officials to ensure that there is good storage at all the weirs in the district. He instructed the officials to use new technology to plan the measures in such a way that the existing weirs store maximum water, enough for both kharif and rabbi seasons.
The minister said that the government will establish a centre to train and guide cotton growers in the district..