Global environmental pressure group Greenpeace Friday expressed concern over parameters of coal mining set by India's Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), close to the inviolate forest areas, stressing that the forest and the species therein would become vulnerable by the process.
Greenpeace senior campaigner, Ashish Fernandes said, "The parameters themselves have some lacunae as the crucial element of livelihood dependence of forest-dwelling communities is completely ignored. Further, the criteria should have specified a clear prohibition of mining within 10 km. of the boundary of Protected Areas and Tiger Reserves, as recommended by the Supreme Court."
This comes after the long overdue report of the committee to formulate parameters on inviolate forest areas closed to coal mining was uploaded to the MoEF website, 7 months after it was submitted by the committee in July 2012.
Fernandes said, "Given that civil society groups have been asking that the criteria be opened for public consultation, it is disappointing that the government now seeks to present these parameters as final."
"Over 1.1 million hectares of forest, the livelihoods of lakhs of forest-dwellers and the fate of endangered species such as the tiger, leopard and elephant will be affected by this process," he added.