Forest are more costly than diamonds


The earth, the air, the land, and the water are not an inheritance from our forefathers but on loan from our children. So we have to hand it over to them at least as it was handed over to us.

– Mahatma Gandhi
When we were kids, we were told to protect trees and plant more and more trees, as they give us oxygen but why do we forget our basic learning when we grow up? Why are we so selfish that we can destroy forests just for money? This time it is a huge Buxwaha Protected Forest that has been proposed to cut down because it has more than 30 million carats of rough diamonds underneath. This forest is home to some rare species of animals like Indian Gazelles, Chowsingha, Sloth Bears, Leopard, Tiger, Monitor Lizards, Indian Rumped Vultures, and Peacock. It also sustains trees with medicinal benefits like Teak, Ken, Behda, Banyan, Jamun Tendu, Khair, Bel, Dhava, Seja, Goat, Renjha, Amltas, Saugon, etc. The plan is to develop a fully mechanized opencast mine plant for the diamonds.  Aditya Birla group’s Essel Mining & Industries Limited (EMIL) is currently working on obtaining various regulatory clearances which include approval of Mine Plan, and Environment & Forest Department. The project requires a cut down of 384 hectares in Buxwaha Protected Forest and is located near Village Sagoria. It is 80 km from the district headquarters of Chhatarpur and 260 km from Bhopal. 
The effect of mining on flora, fauna, and tribal people will be very ravaging. The animal living in the forest will be endangered. There will be man-animal conflict. the livelihood of tribal people largely depends on the forest. Many of them will lose their livelihood. The mining project will consume a massive amount of groundwater, which will result in the decline of groundwater level, and also create problems for nearby farmers. That area is already water-scarce and this project will increase the burden on groundwater. Mining waste will be dumped in the forest, which will destroy flora and fauna. Reports state that the project will claim over 200,000 trees in the region and will require an estimated 5.9 million cubic meters of water per day. 
People have started expressing their dissent and outrage through social media campaigns. Over 1.25 lakh people have come forward and supported the protests #saveBuxwahaforest and #IndiastandswithBuxwahaforest through social media campaigns. Many activists and environmentalists such as Dr. Dhanendra Kumar, Neha Singh, Karuna Raghuvanshi are making maximum efforts to turn this campaign into a mass movement. On the other hand, MLA Pradyumn Singh Lodhi of the incumbent BJP government has condemned these voices stating that “Those opposing the project are opposing the felling of trees without proper knowledge. It will bring development and 15 times saplings will be planted for the chopped trees” he added, claiming the project will bring in big-time royalty which will benefit the State and the region
when the world is already fighting with the human-made virus, covid-19 and thousands of people have died due to unavailability of oxygen. Does it right to challenge nature again? Does it make any sense that people are dying due to a shortage of oxygen and our government is allowing companies to demolish a large part of the forest? Are we that selfish that for sake of some diamonds, we are ready to give up forests? 

Is it ethical to mine diamonds worth billions for development, but at the cost of priceless forests, wildlife, and tribals?