Today, the Amazon of the East is under threat. Amid the lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic, Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary is in fear of being destroyed now. Recently, the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has given the green signal to a proposal recommending usage of 98.59 hectares of land belonging to the Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve, a proposed reserve forest, for extraction of coal by Coal India Limited which puts the rainforest under threat. The Dehing Patkai region is already threatened by highly polluting industries such as coal mines, oil refineries and gas drilling adversely affecting the biodiversity in the region. This move, made many environmentalists believe that deforestation, cutting down of trees will definitely lead to biodiversity loss of the place, and will endanger the species living there. Animals will also suffer due to habitat loss which will probably lead to increased man-animal conflicts. Moreover, it will affect the climate too. Also, endangered species will face a threat of extinction. The Dehing Patkai Forest, the Amazon of the East is one of the most important forests of Assam in terms of orchid diversity, will lose its essence as a wildlife sanctuary. Although North Eastern Coalfields General Manager J K Borah said that they are regularizing the area and claimed that the elephant corridor is almost 20–25 km away from the project site, yet the act is going to have a drastic impact on the flora and fauna of the forest. Therefore, the issue needs to be solved by saving environmental breakdown before it's too late. It's very unfortunate that an environmental issue is less talked about. We should all have learnt a lesson from COVID-19 pandemic, which is directly or indirectly teaching us that how far the destruction of the environment or ecosystem could lead to the destruction of the earth.
Kumar Roshan Dusad,