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Power Trip – Gehlot meets Baghel to break impasse over resumption of coal mining in Chhattisgarh

By Ram Kaushik

The repeated power crisis in Rajasthan is likely to end soon as Rajasthan minister met his counterpart in Chhattisgarh Bhupesh Baghel to resolve the dispute over mining rights at the Parse-kente coal field in Chhattisgarh.

According to sources, Gehlot, who is on his visit to Raipur to attend Congress' plenary session, discussed the issue with Baghel at length.

Official Sources confirmed that agenda of the meeting was to explore the possibility of starting mining coal at mines in the Parsa-kente field.

Gehlot along with a high-profile delegation had visited Raipur in March last year also to seek Chhattisgarh's support in the excavation of coal from the mines allotted to Rajasthan. But a solution could not be reached due to local political pressures from Chhattisgarh congress and protests in the coalfield area.

The issue

The Union had allotted Rajasthan three coal blocks – Parsa East-Kanta Basan-II (PEKB), Parsa and Kente Extension in Hasdeo Arand forest area. The Hasdeo Arand coalfield is spread over 1,878 square kilometres in three districts of Chhattisgarh – Korba, Surguja and Surajpur. Mining in the first phase of the PEKB coal block had been completed in September 2022 by Rajasthan and no coal remained to dig out in this block. Local tribals, NGOs and environmental activists have been protesting against the mining activities in Hasdeo Arand forest area for over a decade.

The Center issued environment clearance for mining to Rajasthan in December 2021.

Adding more to the agony of Rajasthan, Congress ruled Chattisgarh legislative assembly passed a resolution to get the mines allotment cancel and it was sent the government of India. However, Union Coal Minister – Pralad Joshi sided with Rajasthan and rejected Chattisgarh assembly resolution. Minister Joshi unequivocally clarified that coal mines were allotted to Rajasthan after taking due procedure and the allotment could not be canceled.

The road to resolution

The meeting between Gehlot and Baghel is being considered significant as it indicates a willingness on both sides to find a solution to the issue. Sources from both governments revealed that the two chief ministers of congress-ruled states had committed to address the internal party issues as well as the issues being raised by the protesters so that Rajasthan authorities can start mining in their coal mines to mitigate the coal supply deficit being faced by the power plants in the state.  
Now the ball is in the court of the Congress party-ruled Chhattisgarh government. Chhattisgarh has not issued the required clearances so far even after intervention by the congress' high command.

The BuckStopper Reporter
The BuckStopper Reporterhttps://www.thebuckstopper.com
The BuckStopper, run by a group of seasoned journalists, holds the powerful accountable. The buck stops with them, as they cannot shrug off their official responsibilities.
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