‘SaveDehingPatkai’, State Congress tweets to Centre
DIBRUGARH, May 22: No one should doubt the government’s intention to protect nature even as protests continued over preliminary permission given for coal mining inside Dehing Patkai forest, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal said.
After visiting some quarantine centres in Dibrugarh, Sonowal told reporters that he has already directed Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya to visit the Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, known as the Amazon of East, and submit a ground report.
“We are committed to protect Assam’s environment and biodiversity. No one should cast aspersions on state government’s sincerity to preserve the natural beauty, greenery and natural resources of the state,” he said.
Suklabaidya has been directed to visit the sanctuary to take stock of the actual situation and the state government will take further steps in this regard based on the Forest minister’s report, he added.
On Friday, opposition Congress tweeted against the Centre’s decision to give stage I permission to Coal India Ltd for coal mining inside the forest with the hashtag ‘SaveDehingPatkai’.
All Assam Students’ Union, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, environmentalists, activists, teachers and students are protesting on social media with the hashtag “Save Amazon Of East from Coal Mafias” and “I am Dehing Patkai” and warned of strong protests if coal mining is allowed.
An online petition at www.change.org has already attracted nearly 70,000 signatures against coal mining inside Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve.
The Centre gave the Stage-I clearance to CIL for 57.20 hectares in December 2019 with 28 conditions, including fines and action against responsible officers violating the Forest Conservation Act.
The Assam Forest Department had last month slapped a penalty of Rs 43.25 crore on CIL for carrying out illegal mining activity inside the forest, for 16 years since 2003.