The Chhattisgarh Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution urging the Centre to cancel the allocation of all coal mining blocks in the Hasdeo forest.

Dharmjeet Singh, an MLA of the Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) had placed the resolution stating that mining activities in the area will ruin its rich biodiversity and destroy the dense forest.

The Hasdeo forest falls under the Korba, Sujapur and Sarguja districts of Chattisgarh and is home to a sizeable population of Adivasis.

In 2021, a report by the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, had termed the forest as the “largest un-fragmented forests in Central India”, according to The Indian Express.

However, along with the rich biodiversity, the area has 18 identified coal mines. Adivasis in the area have been protesting against mining activities in the region for the last decade.

In April, fresh protests broke out in the region after the Chhattisgarh government allotted the Parsa coal mine in Hasdeo forest to the Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited after receiving a green signal from the Centre last year.

The coal mine was subsequently handed over to the Adani Group for operations by the Congress government in Rajasthan.

On Tuesday, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, said that it was the intention of the Chattisgarh government from the beginning to protect the forest reserve.

“And we worked in that direction with seriousness,” he said, according to PTI.

Baghel further added that the decision to allocate coal blocks and grant clearances related to the environment and forest is done by the Centre.

Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Ajay Chandrakar said that the Chhattisgarh government should cancel the no objection certificate given for the mines.