4,000-5,000 rat-hole coal mines have sprung up in Assam in three years: Congress MP

His allegations come close on the heels of the Gauhati High Court directive to two district magistrates in the state to file affidavits on illegal mining activities.

Published: 29th June 2019 06:06 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th June 2019 06:06 PM   |  A+A-

Meghalaya Mine

Image of a rat-hole mine in Meghalaya used for representational purpose (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: A Congress MP in Assam claimed that 4,000-5,000 rat-hole coal mines had sprung up in the state over the past three years and that too in 11 reserved forests and a wildlife sanctuary.

Nagaon MP, Pradyut Bordoloi, alleged that a coal mafia, aided and abetted by the Tinsukia district administration in Upper Assam, had been systematically destroying the rainforests and running a huge illegal coal mining and trading.

His allegations come close on the heels of the Gauhati High Court directive to two district magistrates in the state to file affidavits on illegal mining activities.

“In 11 reserved forests and Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary in Tinsukia district, this mafia has dug up 4,000 to 5,000 rat-hole coal mines which are very unsafe. More often than not, during the rainy season, the rat-hole coal mines routinely cave in, trapping and killing the poor daily wage labourers. This phenomenon is going on for last three years,” Bordoloi alleged.

The BJP-led coalition has been in power in Assam since May, 2016. 

“…So far I know, 80 miners and two baby elephants perished and (the deaths were) covered up by the nexus,” he tweeted.

The MP alleged that the “unprecedented illegal coal mining operation” was being carried out by a coal syndicate. He also alleged that around 20,000 hectares of forest area in Tinsukia district had been destroyed due to rat-hole coal mining. 

Recently, Bordoloi alleged that Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal was involved in the coal-syndicate running in Margherita Assembly segment of Tinsukia district. He also sniffed the involvement of district administration, forest department, government officials besides journalists in the syndicate. 

On Friday, Bordoloi had threatened to file an FIR against the Tinsukia district magistrate for the latter’s alleged connivance in the coal syndicate. Demanding a probe, he said the DM could not get away given the alleged illegal activities in the district. Recently, he had challenged Sonowal to pay a visit to the reserved forests to get an idea of the level of illegal mining activities.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp