Grim future: There are 18 coal blocks in the biodiversity-rich Hasdeo Arand region | Photo: Mongabay

Centre gives nod to coal mining in Chhattisgarh’s Hasdeo Arand

In a major blow to local residents, the Centre permitted mining in 1,136 hectares of land in Chhattisgarh’s Hasdeo Arand, which is one of the last remaining continuous stretches of old growth forests in the country. The Environment Ministry’s forest advisory committee gave its nod to the extension of mining in the Parsa East and Kente Basan (PEKB) block on December 23. The extension was sought after coal reserves in the previously allotted 762 hectares were exhausted quicker than expected. 

Ken-Betwa river linking project will submerge large parts of Panna Tiger Reserve: Study

A new study found that the Ken-Betwa River Interlinking Project (KBRIL), which recently got a go-ahead from the Centre, will submerge a major part of the Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh. This will also lead to a loss of the region’s tiger population as well as prey, which includes chital and sambar, according to the study. 

The project aims to transport surplus water in MP’s Ken river to UP’s Betwa river in order to provide water to drought-prone Bundelkhand. Experts estimated a loss of 58.03 sqkm (10.07%) of critical tiger habitat (CTH) in the reserve due to the project. Last year, the Cabinet approved the funding and implementation of the project at a cost of Rs44,605 crore.

India’s green court orders panel to look into violations at Dadam mine after landslide

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) constituted an eight-member panel to determine the violations and damage caused to the environment after a landslide in Dadam mine killed 5 people on January 1 this year. The landslide occurred only a day after mining had resumed following the lifting of a two-month ban imposed by NGT on any mining activities at the site.  

India brings down average time for green clearance to less than 90 days

India’s environment ministry official brought down the average time for environment clearances to less than 90 days. It was over 150 days in 2019. In some sectors, the ministry said clearance could take less than 60 days. In a statement, the ministry also said it had granted environment clearances to 7,787 projects through environment impact assessment (EIA) notifications in 2021.

Use carbon border tax revenues to boost climate finance, says EU lawmaker

An EU lawmaker proposed to use revenues from carbon border tax to help poor countries decarbonise their polluting industries. Mohammed Chahim, a Dutch centre-left MEP, submitted a draft report to the European Parliament, asking that revenues be shared with low-income countries who will be affected by the proposed levy on carbon-intensive goods imported to the EU. Chahim also proposed introducing the levy earlier than the currently decided 2026 deadline. The report will be debated in Parliament in early February. 

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