For the past 2 months, a protest has been gaining momentum in central India's Bundelkhand. This is over the Buxwaha diamond mining that endangers the livelihood of the tribals in the area & seeks to clear over 2 lakh trees.

The bid for the block, which is estimated to have 34 mn carats of rough diamonds, was won by Aditya Birla Group’s Essel Mining & Industries Limited in 2019. Buxwaha forest lies in the Chhatarpur district of MP, about 260 km northeast of Bhopal.

     

Buxwaha Diamond Mining: 2 Lakh Trees, Tribals’ Livelihood at Stake

WHAT?

For the past two months, a protest has been gaining momentum in central India's Bundelkhand. This is over the Buxwaha diamond mining that endangers the tribals living in the area along with the forest clearance of over 2 lakh trees.

HOW?

Amit Bhatnagar, a volunteer with ‘Buxwaha Jungle Bachao Andolan’, said, "The region is still considered backward. Around 7,000 villagers of the 17 tribal villages in the territory depend solely on forest products, like Mahua, Tendu leaves, Chironji, Aamla, etc, for their livelihood. The proposed mine would snatch away their income sources. For example, Mahua earns a family about Rs 40,000 to Rs 1,00,000 in a season."

But the assessment report submitted by Chhattarpur's Chief Forest Conservator (CFC) on 2 January 2021 claimed that the tribals of the area were 'NOT DEPENDENT' on the proposed forest and that 'no right of tribals has been recognized in the area'.

WHO?

According to the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), among India's four diamond-reserve states – Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Odisha – Madhya Pradesh alone accounts for about 90.18 percent. National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) is actively pursuing prospective diamond blocks in these states.

MORE:

Aditya Birla group’s EMIL plans to develop a fully mechanised opencast mine and state-of-the-art processing plant for recovery of diamonds with an investment of around Rs 2,500 crore. The company claims that the project, once operational, has the potential to become one of the largest diamond mines in the Asian region.