Protests in Assam against center’s decision to allow coal mining in Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, online campaign also to ‘Save Amazon of East’

Guwahati, May 21: Protests in Assam against the center’s decision to allow coal mining. Amid the ongoing nationwide lockdown, various organizations, wildlife activists, students, and people of Assam have intensified their protests on streets and digital platforms against the center’s decision to allow coal mining in the Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam.

From All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), Forest Man of India Jadav Payeng to actor Adil Hussain, singer Angarag Papon Mahanta, wildlife activists, environmentalists and many people of Assam have criticized the decision of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) to allow coal mining in new areas of the Dehing Patkai rainforest.

Dehing Patkai rainforest is known as Amazon of East and it has over 40 species of fauna including elephants, several varieties of big cats, bears and the famous Assam Macaque, over 300 species of birds, over 40 species of reptiles, over 60 types of trees and over 100 varieties of orchids.

The Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary itself has an area of 111.19 sq km which is spread over Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts and the National Board for Wildlife has approval to a coal mining project in the Saluki area of the wildlife sanctuary.

The members of All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), All Assam Matak Youth Students’ Union had staged protests in Tinsukia district against the center’s decision by forming a human chain.

The protesters threatened the government to intensify their protests across the state if the decision will not withdraw.

“We are strongly opposed to the center’s decision. We will send a memorandum to the Prime Minister of India. If the government will not withdraw their decision, then we will intensify our protests across the state,” a leader of All Assam Matak Youth Students’ Union said.

On the other hand, Padma Shri Jadav Payeng – who is also known as Forest Man of India has appealed to the government to change their decision.

“Coal mining should be stopped to protect our climate and environment. Coal mining in the Dehing Patkai rainforest will severely impact our climate, environment of Assam, and other parts of the North-Eastern region. I appeal the government to change the decision,” Jadav Payeng said.

On the other hand, many people of Assam and outside of the state have protested against the center’s decision in various digital platforms by appealing ‘Save Dehing Patkai’, ‘Sava Amazon of East’.

Bollywood singer from Assam Angarag Papon Mahanta tweeted – “The world cried when there was a fire in the Amazon! DihingPatkai in Assam is India’s biggest rain forest. We cannot take any further risk with nature in the midst of what we are already going through! It hosts.”

Actor Adil Hussain tweeted – “Known as Amazon of the East #DehingPatkai Forest, home to Elephants and Numerous #FloraFaona up for Coal Mining, if reports are to be true. It does not need rocket science to realize that we are on the verge of a global Environmental Catastropy. @RandeepHooda.”

Assam Chief Minister directs state Forest minister to visit Dehing Patkai :

Meanwhile, given the strong protests about the purported attempt of coal mining in Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday directed state Forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya to visit the sanctuary for taking stock of the ground situation there.

In a government statement, the Assam Chief Minister said that,  the Assam government is committed to protecting the environment and biodiversity of the state and will not compromise with its stand in the name development initiatives. The government always underscored the need to sustain development in sync with its ecology.

He also said that the Environment and Forests minister during his visit to the area will conduct a field study of the present condition of the Wildlife Sanctuary and apprise the government for the needful.