Illegal coal mining thrives along Assam-Arunachal border areas
Last month, political party Assam Jatiya Parishad had petitioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing concern over environmental degradation due to illegal mining activities in the district.
GUWAHATI: Illegal mining continues to thrive in the coal-rich belt of Tinsukia district in Assam and Changlang district in Arunachal Pradesh.
Officials in Arunachal said coal traders were doing illegal mining in parts of Changlang by taking advantage of the porous border and jurisdictional confusion.
Accompanied by his personal security officers, Changlang District Magistrate Sunny K Singh had carried out an operation on the intervening night of March 4 and 5 at a place near Rangrinkan village and Namdang check gate on the interstate border after the district administration received a complaint about illegal coal mining activities in the area.
Singh noticed 25-30 people doing their job at a coal mine but they immediately fled the place. Later, the Changlang district police personnel and Assistant Mining Development Officer, Changlang arrived at the spot and seized a coal-laden truck and machines, including five excavators and four JCBs used for mining. A case was also registered by the police.
The Changlang-Tinsukia border is a coal belt. Apart from Rangrinkan, some villages such as Phinbiro, Khamdu and Namgoi in Changlang are also rich in coal.
Illegal coal mining is believed to have caused irreversible damage to wildlife as parts of these villages belong to forest reserves.
There are allegations galore about rampant illegal coal mining activities in the Tinsukia district of Assam. Last month, the political party Assam Jatiya Parishad petitioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing concern over environmental degradation due to illegal mining activities in the district.
Meanwhile, officials in Arunachal said that the coal traders were carrying out mining activities inside Changlang taking advantage of the undemarcated border. “When we go after those involved in illegal coal mining activities, they flee to Assam. Similarly, when there is an operation against them in Tinsukia, they sneak into Changlang,” an official in Arunachal said.
“We believe that proper demarcation of the border and coordination between the two districts through the setting up of a joint action force could help solve the problem. Sometimes, we find it difficult to identify even our own area as the border has not been demarcated on the ground,” he added.