People in large numbers gathered at Margherita Central Field in Assam's Tinsukia on Friday Credit: Mukut Medhi

Margherita: Criticising the government for not allowing mining in some of the legally-run mines in Margherita in Assam’s Tinsukia district, over 2,000 people on Friday under the banner of various organisations demanded the government to take initiatives so that mining can be started in such mines, especially at Tirap and Tikok collieries in the district.

Alleging that due to the non-functioning of these legally-run mines, a large section of people associating with the business are facing massive financial hardship during the last couple of months, the protesters have demanded the government not to mix both legally and illegally-run mines while taking any decision.

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Over 2,000 people took part in the protest

Majority of the protesters were small shopkeepers, vendors, etc, who were previously managing their families by installing their shops near these mines.

Tikok colliery had stopped functioning since October 26, 2019 while Tirap colliery is lying defunct since June 2020.

Protectors demand opening of Tirap and Tikok collieries

Addressing a rally at Margherita Central Field, these protesters under the banner of Margherita Bazar Samity, Margherita Daily Bazar Samity, Margherita Venermill Bazar Samity, leading citizens, locals, employees of mining companies and many others, raised slogans like “Save Coal India”, “Save NEC”, “Save Margherita”, etc., which echoed in the entire area.

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Slogans like ‘Save Coal India’, ‘Save Margherita’ were raised

Speaking to EastMojo, Raju Borthakur, president, Porvottar Coal Majdur Sangha, demanded the government to issue immediate notifications so that the legally-run coalmines in the state, especially those at Margherita district can be opened.

“It’s really unfortunate that a section of people is doing politics in the name of mining at Dehing Patkai. Mining, Dehing and Patkai are three different issues. It’s not wise to mix everything ignoring the interest of the masses,” Borthakur added.

People from different sections of the society took part in the protest

Meanwhile, in a significant development, which might have long lasting impact on Assam and some other parts of Northeast India, the Centre, for the first time in history, is launching commercial coal auctions in the country on June 18.

The Centre’s move assumes significance as people in large numbers are continuously opposing the move to extract coal from different parts of the Northeast which has been posing serious threat to the biodiversity over the years.

This decision comes a month after the Union Cabinet approved the new revenue-sharing model which puts an end to the monopoly of state-run Coal India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on June 18 launch the auction of coal mines for commercial mining at an event to be held in New Delhi via video conferencing.

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