In the eye of the storm for more than a week now, over the serial deaths of six jumbo, beleaguered Chhattisgarh government has eventually woken up to the reality, and has urged the Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar to exclude proposed Lemaru elephant reserve along with Hasdev Aranya area from upcoming coal block auction.

Chhattisgarh Forest, housing and environment minister Mohammed Akbar wrote to the union minister on Sunday urging him not to include Hasdev Aranya along with the adjoining area of ?? the Mand river, and the limits of the proposed Lemaru elephant reserve.

Mineral-rich northern, central and western Chhattisgarh regions have been home to India’s most dense forests and rich flora and fauna for several millennia. It’s tropical cum deciduous climate and heavy vegetation makes it a favoured habitation for tuskers and several other wild animals.

Off late, however, shrinking forests due to mindless mining in neighbouring Jharkhand pushed several elephant herds towards the state, turning jungles villages in north and central region as virtual war zones of human and elephant conflict.

The exclusion of coal blocks in these areas from the auction would be appropriate because of the region’s rich flora and find apart from abundant mineral wealth including coal, the forest minister further wrote.

Scores of central, state, and private entities have been mining in the area currently. However, keeping in mind the rising number of cases of human-elephant conflict, the state government has decided recently to declare the 1995 square kilometre area adjoining the Hasdev river as Lemru Elephant Reserve, Akbar explained.

The proposed reserve would in a way pave the way to a safe coexistence between the human and the soaring number of pachyderms in the state. State government is gearing up for issuing notification pertaining to an elephant reserve, the minister noted. It would be immensely necessary to avoid any mining activity in this area to successfully materialise a safe and acclimated elephant habitat.