Gadchiroli Oct. 10 (District Correspondent) The environment related public hearing on the Zendepar Mining Project took place at the Niyojan Bhavan in collectorate premises here this afternoon amidst much chaos and strong opposition. Many of the workers were not allowed to even enter the venue of the public hearing and few of them were detained by the police. Some of the people present in the meeting hall however extended support to the proposed project. A tight security was maintained in the premises since yesterday in view of this hearing.
Meanwhile the residents in Zendepar area staged intensive protests near the Zendepar site today shouting slogans against the mining. A large number of local residents including men and women participated in this protest.
All the Sarpanchas, Dy. Sarpanchas and members of the village panchayats in Korchi declared to tender their mass resignations if the hearing is not cancelled. The Sarpancha Sanagtahana of Korchi taluka has also opposed the mining at Zendepar and demanded that the hearing should be held at Korchi itself to enable the local people to register their views. The office bearers of the Sangathana addressed a press conference at the Press Club here and demanded to cancel today’s hearing and conduct a fresh public hearing.
Mr. Dhaniram Hidami, President of Taluka Sarpancha Sangathana told the reporters that even after telling the authorities that they were the elected public representatives from Korchi taluka and showing their identity cards, none of them were allowed to enter the hall. The people from Chhattisgarh and Gondiya district who have nothing to do with the mining area, were allowed to go in.
We will now approach the President of India against this repressive attitude of the administration and will seek re hearing, he told. The mining is going to affect our lives badly not only in respect of the environment by the livelihood, pointed out Kundan Kumre, Sarpanch of Nanpur.
Present at the press conference were Saril Madavi, Sarpanch of Nandli, Sunil Sayam of Maseli,Kaushalya Katenge of Nawargaon, Ganesh Gawde of Alitola, Kishor Narote of Bihitekla, Kunti Hukundi of Betkathi, Mamta Sahare of Kohka, Santanu Dikondi of Armulkasa, Chhayatai Boga of Aswalhudki, Nakul Sahare of Kohka and other Sarpanchas, Dy. Sarpanchas and Gram Sabha members.
The activists of various political parties who had already opposed the mining and sent their memorandums to the Pollution Control Board and the district Collector were not allowed to enter the site of the public hearing. Not only this, many of the workers were detained at the Police Station to stop them from attending the public hearing. Dr. Mahesh Kopulwar of CPI, Ramdas Jarate of PWP, Amol Marakwar of Kisan Sabha, Adv. Lalsu Nogoti, nitin Pada of Gram Sabha, Raj Bansod of BRSP, Sanjay Koche of NCP were the prominent activists who were detained.
Noted tribal activist Kusum Alam too was not allowed to enter the hearing hall and was sent back along with her colleagues. These workers have alleged that the public hearing was conducted one sided under pressure and have threatened to approach the higher authorities against this.
District Collector Sanjay Meena, SP Nilotpal, Additional Collector Dhanaji Patil, officers of the Pollution Control Board were prominently present in this public hearing.
Gadchiroli Chimur Lok Sabha MP Ashok Nete, Gadchiroli MLA Dr. Deorao Holi, Armori MLA Krishna Gajbhe, former MLA and Congress leader Dr. Namdeo Usendi, Dr. Namdeo Kirsan too participated in the hearing. While Nete and Gajbhe supported the mining, Dr. Usendi opposed it.
Photo 1) The villagers staging protest at Zendepar village. 2) Mr. Sanjay Meena and other officers seen at the public hearing. 3) Dr. Mahesh Kopulwar and others stopped by the police.