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Green Groups protest Coal Mining at Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve in Assam

Coal News - Published on Mon, 25 May 2020

Image Source: Coal Mining Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve
The decision of Indian government to allow open cast coal mining in Saleki proposed Reserved Forest within Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve in Assam has now drawn global attention. The global International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberalisation headquartered at Philippines has joined different organizations in denouncing the approval of India’s environment agencies for coal mining in rainforests and protected forest reserves in Assam. IPMSDL said that like thieves in the night, the National Board for Wildlife, the Forest Advisory Committee and 10 Expert Appraisal Committees approved the use of almost 100 hectares of land of the Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve in Assam for opencast coal mining of Coal India Limited.

Conservation NGO Aaranyak asked the Assam government to go for phase-wise scrapping of coal mining in the Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve notified in 2003 by creating alternative livelihood opportunities for local people who had been dependent on legal coal mining. It also advised the promotion of greener energy options. The Assam Environmental NGO Forum, comprising 20 other groups, sought a complete ban as the elephant reserve has already been severely damaged. It said “It no longer matters if the ongoing mining is legal or illegal in view of clear evidence of habitat destruction.”

CIL has recently been charged for illegal mining for operating inside the reserve without obtaining any clearance certificate. The Standing Committee of the Environment Ministry’s National Board of Wildlife had on April 7 discussed a proposal for transferring 98.59 hectares of land from the Saleki Proposed Reserve Forest for an open-cast coal mining project by North-Easter Coal Field, a unit of Coal India Limited. The NBWL had granted post facto approval for 57.20 hectares of forest land that NECL had already broken up and mined while marking the remaining 41.39 hectares as unbroken, or untouched. Saleki is a part of the Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve that includes the 111.19 square kilometers. Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary and several reserve forests in eastern Assam’s Sivasagar, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts. The wildlife sanctuary is a sub-tropical rainforest often likened to Amazon.

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Posted By : Yogender Pancholi on Mon, 25 May 2020
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