TINSUKIA: Large-scale destruction of Tinkupani Reserve Forest and illegal extraction of gravel from Tirap River under Tinsukia district’s Digboi Forest Division have posed a serious threat to the environment with the coal mafia resorting to unscientific extraction of coal from Tinkupani forest, alleged activists of Bahankshyam Unnayan Shakti (BUS), an environmental NGO.
In a press meet at Tinsukia Press Club on Tuesday, the BUS alleged that a section of contractors, in nexus with forest officials, has been operating several stone quarries inside the reserve forest even in close proximity to Tirap River. The contractors have used JCB dumpers to carry stone quarry from the river edge after clearing large patches of thick forest for transportation. Video footage presented in the press meet gave an explicit picture of the state of affairs.
The BUS has accused the beat officer, ranger and the DFO of their direct involvement in these illegal acts. Sustaining on illegal stone quarries, several stone crusher units have sprung up in Jagun in gross violation of the Assam Stone Crusher Establishment and Regulation Rules 2013. It alleged that most of the crusher units have been established very close to NH 38.
The illegal mining of coal from Tinkupani forest led to large-scale destruction of the forest. As the area does not fall under the operational area of NEC though leased, the coal mafia engaged all sorts of means, including JCB dumpers and mini trucks, to extract coal from the forest. The BUS alleged that a major portion of this illegal coal was transported to Arunachal Pradesh after crossing the Namchik River and returned back to Assam with valid TP. The mafias have employed illegal settlers of Namchik forest to extract coal while the latter has completely denuded the forest over the past one decade. The BUS submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner of Tinsukia and urged him to take steps to stop these illegal practices.
Also read: Assam news