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    “Declare Entire Dehing Patkai As Protected Area”

    Gauhati High Court has taken up a suo moto case against the coal mining issue in in the Wildlife Sanctuary

    Patriotic People’s Front Assam (PPFA) supporting the movement of conservation group Nature’s Beckon has urged the government to “declare the entire Dehing Patkai tropical rainforest as a protected area”.

    The forum endorsed the demand for expanding the area of ‘Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary’ to cover the whole elephant reserve. With the backdrop of massive social media uprising against any kind of mining in Dehing Patkai, Nature’s Beckon has requested the Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to include the remaining and adjoining area of contiguous rainforest under the domain of Dehing Patkai wildlife sanctuary.

    Its founding director Soumyadeep Datta argued that the initiative would protect the rainforest and bring a new dawn for a greener Assam. Dehing Patkai sanctuary covers 111.19 square kilometres of rainforest on the south bank of mighty Brahmaputra river. It is surrounded by the proposed Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve (937 sq km) under Sivasagar, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts.

    Named after Dehing/Dihing (a river flows through it) and Patkai (the hill which supports the forest), the forest reserve was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 2004 along with other 17 forest reserves in the State.

    “On the World Environment Day (5 June), we also urge the government to safeguard the wildlife and rainforests including the Dehing Patkai sanctuary that is home to a large number of Asiatic elephants,” said a statement issued by PPFA adding that it would be a worthy gift to people on the “auspicious day”.

    The Gauhati High Court has taken up a suo moto case against the coal mining issue in Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary on Thursday.

    Chief Justice Ajay Lamba and Justice Soumitra Saikia stated that the sou moto PIL has been taken against the issue while they were hearing two PILs on the mining which has been termed illegal. The court will be hearing the cases on July 20.

    The Standing Committee of the National Board of Wild Life (NBWL) under the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change recommended approval of Coal India Limited’s proposal to legalize mining in the sanctuary and basically in an area which is an Elephant Reserve. This had sparked severe outrage among netizens and environmentalists concerned about the conservation of the forest.

    The High Court opined that there was no environment clearance for the ongoing mining and took the case.

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