DIBRUGARH: Assam Science Writers' Association (ASWA), a forum of Science writers, scientists, educationists, journalists and distinguished persons from different walks of life; has strongly opposed the latest approval of the government for coal mining inside Saleki Proposed Reserve Forest (PRF) which is on the border of Dehing-Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS).
A press release issued by the president of the association, Dhiren Deka said that Saleki Proposed Reserve Forest (PRF) was a part of Dehing-Patkai Elephant Reserve and was well within the eco-sensitive zone. On the other hand, Dehing-Patkai Elephant Reserve is situated just adjacent to the Deomali Elephant Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh and the whole area is the habitat of sizeable elephant population.
ASWA demanded closure of all sorts of current and future coal mining projects in Saleki and the whole of Dehing-Patkai Elephant Reserve, which is regarded as the largest rainforest of India. In addition to this, other forest reserves should also be freed from illegal coal mining for keeping the biodiversity and ecological balance of the region intact.
"More importantly, UN has dedicated 2020 to raise awareness about plant health and the impact of healthy plants and forests on food security, poverty, economic development and sustainability. In view of this, activities like coal extraction in eco-sensitive zone like Dehing-Patkai Elephant Reserve goes against the UNO's timely call.
"We, therefore, demand that the approval given for Tikok OCP (Open Cast Project) coal mining of North-Eastern Coal Fields (Coal India Ltd.) should be withdrawn forthwith and all other illegal coal extractions that are going on in the area for quite some time under the very nose of the administration should be stopped by the government in keeping with its declared zero-tolerance policy," stated the release.