Nagpur's dilemma: coal or metropolitan region?

Farmers say developing metropolitan region a better deal

 
By Aparna Pallavi
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Rich coal deposits in areas around Nagpur have thrown a spanner into the proposed development plans of the Nagpur Metropolitan Region. The Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) has been working overtime the past few months on developing the metropolitan area, on the lines of Mumbai and Pune metropolitan areas. In a letter addressed to NIT chairman Pravin Darade, chairman-cum-managing director of Western Coalfields Limited (WCL), Dinesh Garg, has asked NIT to seek no-objection certificates from WCL before sanctioning any layout under the regional development plan because of rich deposits of coal in areas like Hingna, Saoner and Kamptee, which fall within a 40 km radius of Nagpur city.


In a letter addressed to NIT chairman Pravin Darade, chairman-cum-managing director of Western Coalfields Limited (WCL), Dinesh Garg, has asked NIT to seek no-objection certificates from WCL before sanctioning any layout under the regional development plan
Areas like Hingna, Saoner and Kamptee, which fall within a 40 km radius of Nagpur city, have rich coal deposits
Farmers say allowing coal mining will ruin environment, agriculture
 
The new development puts a question mark on the future of the proposed Nagpur Metropolitan Region, says Darade, adding that WCL has no right to interfere with the project unless it acquires land for mining projects. He says he will take up the matter with the chief minister.

'Coal mining will have adverse impact'

Meanwhile, speculations on the implications of this development is rife in the city and surrounding areas. Land owners, developers and social activists fear that land acquisition for mining will impact land prices adversely, causing losses to farmers and investors alike. Baba Dawre, who has led the agitation of the residents of village Shivangaon for better rehabilitation and market price for land, says, “WCL has a very bad track record in matters of compensation, and farmers feel that the metropolitan region is a better deal, because not only is there a better possibility of getting good price for land, but a percentage of land will revert to the farmers.”

Sudhir Paliwal of Vidarbha Environment Action Group (VEAG) says that mining projects close to the city will impact the local environment adversely. “Apart from the land acquired for the projects themselves, areas close to mines will feel the impact in the form of coal dust. This will hit farmers in these areas hard as they will neither be able to sell their land at a good price nor practice agriculture.” He also adds that WCL appears to have no intention to mine these areas, and proposals are afoot to allot mines to private companies. “For instance, recently a mine at Dahegaon village near Koradi was allotted to Sunflag Cement.”

WCL authorities could not be contacted for comments.
 

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