GUWAHATI: Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi opposing the recommendation of the National Board of Wildlife (NBWL) to start a coal mining project at a part of Dehing Patkai elephant reserve in Assam.
The NBWL on April 7 discussed a proposal for use of 98.59 hectares of land from Saleki of the reserve forest for a coal mining project by North Eastern Coal Field (NECF), a unit of Coal India Limited.
In his letter, Gogoi stated, "This area is very rich in biodiversity besides having various rare species of birds, butterfly, fish, animals, water bodies etc. In addition, vast area of this region falls under Jaipur rain foresr and also there has been an elephant corridor. The decision will not only destroy the biodiversity of Asiatic Hotspot which is the richest in the whole of Asia but also will change the ecological balance, leading to pollutions, flood, erosion etc. in the near future."
Further, he stated that unprecedented illegal rat hole coal mining is going on at Dirak Likhajan coal mining under Dehing Patkai Wild Life sanctuary with the convenience of local political leaders, police and district administration. "Huge illegal mining is going on at Saleki under Dehing Patkai Elephant reserve. Daily almost hundreds of loaded trucks are carrying illegally mining coal from this region to other parts of the country," said Gogoi.
"I therefore on behalf of the people of Assam request you to kindly withdraw the decision so that it will remain as Asiatic Biodiversity Hotspot and Elephant Reserve," he added.