Women in Jharkhand Recreate ‘Chipko Movement’ to Save 1,700 Trees

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DHANBAD – Women in Dhanbad district of Jharkhand have started a tree-hugging campaign as they are being cut down for the expansion of the coal projects of Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL).

The BCCL team on Tuesday reached the Putki Balihari area to cut down more than 1,500 trees but were forced to return because of the protest.

A local woman said: “Not even a single tree would be allowed to be cut.”

The BCCL has allotted 25 hectares of land to a private company STG Associates for open cast patch work in front of DAV Alkusa School in Putki Balihari area. This patch will produce 3.15 lakh tonnes of coal.

About 1,705 trees have to be cut to start the patch and out of this, 329 trees will be transplanted.

On Tuesday, when the Gopalichak colliery management team reached to cut down the trees, the people of the Save Environment Sangharsh Morcha and the local women got together and hugged the trees as a sign of protest.

After getting information about the protest, the Divisional Forest Officer of Dhanbad Forest Division called BCCL PB area general manager Arun Kumar and Colliery agent A.K. Verma.

The BCCL said: “Approval has been taken to cut trees for expansion of the mine.”

Mines manager Abhiraj said: “Compared to the number of trees that will be cut, 10 times more new trees will be planted.”

“Company has three to four houses near the mining site, while the other 90 houses have been built by encroachment. Such people are opposing the cutting of trees,” BCCL officials said.

A local woman said: “The environment of the area will be affected badly due to the cutting of trees.” -IANS

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