We now stand at cross-roads to shape the future of India. It’s upon us to give India a better future. A future where one is not oppressed and wronged for the benefit and profit of a select few. A future where one’s right is protected and the government truly becomes “Of the people, by the people, for the people”.
Far away from our cosy homes, thousands of people in Mahan are living with the uncertainty of their tomorrow! Their homes and livelihood are under the threat of elimination. The Mahan forest which had been their home and provider of their necessities has fallen under the sight of the greedy profit-making corporates. The cutting down of the forest would mean taking away the lives of these humans who live in Mahan.
India is a developing country and has huge demand for energy. In order to fulfil India’s thirst of energy we need to build more power plants. In order to build more power plants we need to dig out more coal. In order to dig out more coal we need to clear out the forest cover. But, at what cost are we producing this power? Suppressing the rights of several thousands of people, who have been dependant on forests for their livelihood for generations, just because they don’t have the means to influence the ministry?
As of today, the Mahan forest supports the lives and livelihood of more than 14,000 people across 14 villages which also include indigenous community dwelling in the forest itself. Mahan Sangharsh Samiti (MSS) and Greenpeace, India have taken up the cause to stand by these affected people and fight for their rights.
"We will do whatever it takes to save our forests. We cannot allow forest to be cut down. It is our home," said Virendra Singh, a member of MSS. 25 volunteers from Greenpeace have made Mahan their home, to live with these people and bring out their stories to the rest of India.
This Earth day, people in Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi will come together to show solidarity for Mahan. We’ll light candles, hold placards and stand together to show our future government and coal greedy corporations that people in Mahan are not alone. Come along if you love the Earth and it’s beautiful forests. RSVP to make this Earth day, Mahan.
Bapi Mahanta is a Greenpeace volunteer.
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