Guwahati: Amid the increasing public concern over the decision of the Centre to allow extraction of coal at Saleki in Dehing Patkai elephant reserve in upper Assam, state chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal has said that Assam government is very much committed to protect the environment and biodiversity while developing the state.
In a significant development, the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) had last month permitted Coal India Limited to carry out coal extraction in 98.59 hectares of the elephant reserve, triggering opposition from various organisations and individuals.
Reacting sharply to the Centre’s move, the All Assam Students Union (AASU) has criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union government for completely ignoring the catastrophic consequences of the decision. The students’ body also said that the Union government only wants the resources of Assam and has no genuine compassion towards the people of the state.
Terming the Centre move as anti-national, a section of leading citizens of the state under the leadership of Rajya sabha MP Ajit Kumar Bhuyan have also appealed all Assamese people to raise their voice against coal extraction in the area.
Reiterating his commitment to protect the environment and biodiversity while developing Assam, the CM took to Twitter to say that his Cabinet colleague and minister for environment and forests Parimal Suklabaidya will visit Dehing Patkai, which is also known as the Amazon of the East, to take stock of the situation, very soon.
“I have directed Minister of Environment & Forests Shri @ParimalSuklaba1 to visit Dehing Patkai for taking stock of the present condition of the area. We are committed to protect the environment and biodiversity while developing Assam,” Sonowal tweeted.