National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) last month permitted Coal India Ltd to carry out coal extraction in 98.59 hectares of the Dehing Patkai elephant reserve Credit: File image

Guwahati: Expressing serious concern over the decision of the Centre to allow extraction of coal at Saleki in Dehing Patkai elephant reserve in upper Assam, a section of the people of the state under the leadership of Rajya sabha MP Ajit Kumar Bhuyan and All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) have appealed all Assamese people to raise their voice against coal extraction in the area.

In a significant development, the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) had last month permitted Coal India Ltd to carry out coal extraction in 98.59 hectares of the elephant reserve, triggering opposition from various organisations and individuals.

Terming the Centre’s move as anti-Assam and anti-Northeast, Bhuyan has severely criticised the Centre for the move and urged the state government to adequate measures for the protection of the Dehing Patkai elephant reserve.

Meanwhile, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) has strongly opposed the NBWL’s decision to allow coal mining in the Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary and urged the government to immediately roll back the decision in order to save the Dehing Patkai, which is also known as the Amazon of the East.

Criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union government for completely ignoring the catastrophic consequences of the decision, the students’ body said that the Union government only wants the resources of Assam and has no genuine compassion towards the people of the state.

“Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, which also is a rainforest, is a hub of biodiversities in the entire region. NBWL permission to Coal India Limited to carry out extraction in 98.59 hectares of the rainforest’s land, will completely destroy Dehing Patkai. Illegal mining has already damaged the rainforest. This move for coal extraction in Dehing Patkai cannot be accepted,” AASU president Dipanka Kumar Nath and general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said.

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