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Dehing Patkai Issue: Is blinded agitation against government misplaced?

  • Subrata Sarmah Baruah | Updated: May 24, 2020, 6:10 p.m.

To safeguard these illegal activities and officers, some elements of opposition and youtubers like Dhruv Rathee seem to be trying hard to implicate Assam CM and BJP for diverting attention. Many well-meaning people have jumped the gun and without any research and have got sacked into this opposition ploy.


The Congress, All Assam Students' Union (AASU), Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and environmental activist Jadav Payeng are protesting against mining by Coal India Limited (CIL) inside Dehing Patkai forest.

Meanwhile, Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal has said that his government is committed towards the biodiversity of the state and Dehing Patkai situation is being assessed. The issue got new air of protest when avid youtuber and Aam Aadmi party accomplice, Dhruv Rathee raised this on various platforms.

Padamshree awardee Jadav Payeng, also known as the 'Forest Man of India' said, "Coal mining should be stopped to protect our climate and environment. I appeal to the central and state governments to ban mining inside Dehing Patkai". His views are respected but are they clearly placed?

In this article we will look at some few points on Dehing Patkai Issue and bust the myths surrounding it.

Most media houses however initially took an anti government stand without going into the details. This anti government narrative seems to be have started by Congress Party, who themselves initially gave the lease to Coal India in 1980s, but when the lease expired in 2003, allowed Coal India to carry on illegal mining. No media or ‘Jatiyo’ organization raised a voice these last few decades. As a result of the illegal mining, many during the previous regime minted money & Assam lost massive revenue.

● Legal Mining activity happening in the region is more than 136 Years old.


History of mining report

● Site visit of the report says the Elephant Corridor falls in North west side while the coal mine area is in South East side of Burhi Dihing. Both are clearly at different locations.


Details on location of Dehing Patkai from MOM 2012

● From May 2012 to July 2019: There are numerous site visit report, recommendation and concern over mitigation. The latest report clearly says, it is a proposal for which it will have to wait for to compile the norm.


Latest NBWL Report

● The Proposal for the broken sloped area which is 25 kms from the Elephant corridor has been taken in consideration. But the proposal for the unbroken area has clearly been rejected.


SBWL Minutes of Meeting 2016, 2018

● May 6 2020: Assam Forest dept slapped 43.25 Crore to Coal India for Illegally Mining from 2003 to 2019 In Dehing Patkai Mining area. Because they are working without renewing their license not because the land is illegal.

● 28 April 2020: NBWL clearly says in their latest meeting that "They refuse to accord Permission to the miner to commence operation unless it fulfils 28 Environment norms, including penalty payments.

● Saumyadeep Dutta of environmental activist group Nature's Beacon, who is working for the wildlife sanctuary from its birth, said that Govt is not planning to mine inside the WLS as of now.

Watch the video here :
Video credits: Voice of Axom

● When BJP government stopped this illegality and fined Coal India Rs 43 crores, they then tried hard to regularise the illegality. Now NBWL has given only conditional phase 1 permission with 28 tough conditions.


Government’s reply on setting up enquiry on the issue

● One of the condition in the 28 conditions is to furnish names of all Forest and Coal India officers so that necessary action can be initiated. According to a news report of The Assam Tribune Dept, action has been taken against 10 DFOs of Coal India.

So, what we got here is that NBWL didn't give any nod to any claim in the Elephant Corridor. There is no such notification for approval for mining in illegal terms anywhere. It was a proposal which needed to complete all the environment norms. So, who is trying to get benefits here? Assam Elections are not too far. Somebody, it seems is trying to make their political ground for 2021, but what will they achieve through such fake propaganda?

Why is Dhruv Rathee, an alleged member of AAP IT Cell suddenly involved? Already Assam paid its price for the ‘2.5 crore theory’ and everyone witnessed how politics works. Why was Dhruv Rathee silent all those years when actual illegal mining took place in the region? Does Mr. Rathee not like the action that is being taken on the illegal miners?

Illegal Mining shouldn't be happening. For this we all should be vocal, and we should be vocal if any elephant corridor is compromised, but wait until the final report is out and without approval of the project, we should not arrive into any conclusions yet.

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