Published: 22nd December 2019
This Odisha forest needs your help: Why #SaveTalabira is still trending
As many as 1.3 lakh trees have been felled and while the tribals have been protesting about it for a long time, it is now that their voices are being heard much more clearly
In the Talabira area of Odisha, lakhs of trees have been felled, making way for Talabira II and III phases of coal blocks by Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) India, a Navratna Government of India company operating in the field of thermal power generation and fossil fuel mining, who signed a coal mining pact with the Adani Group. The impact of cutting these trees will be much more than what the feeling of trees in Aarey Forests could have caused yet, the movement has hardly been receiving any traction on online.
It was the Unmukt Foundation who started the #SaveTalabira on Twitter. "It felt like it was too late, yet we had to do what we had to do," says Shweta Agarwal, the Founder of Unmukt Foundation. The mission of the foundation is to relentlessly plant and restore trees and they worked very hard when Cyclone Fani wreaked havoc in the coastal state. With the help of groups like the Indian Forest Movement, Fridays For Future and Save Aravali, they started tweeting from 8 pm on December 12. They managed to put out 4,000 tweets, engage two lakh people and even gained likes from activist and YouTuber Dhruv Rathee and UN-Habitat Youth.
Not only did the foundation tweet in Odia, Hindi and English, but they also made the posters and spread the word around as well. The aim was to gain traction and get the attention of the world. They tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar and climate change activist Greta Thunberg in their tweets. Recently it was reported that NLC India has pledged to plant 25,86,700 trees as part of their afforestation programme, but the word on the ground, as Shweta informs, is that they are planning to plant these trees 150 km away from the site, which will not help.
Save our trees
A resident of Khinda hamlet Hemant Kumar Raut said, "Each tree is equivalent to a human being and we have been protecting them since a very long time. The Adivasi Youth Club, village committees and others are all coming together for the movement." He also mentions that the number of trees that have been cut are much higher than what is being reported. He also informs that they have given their affidavit to the National Green Tribunal lawyer and will move to the High Court too.