NGT panel to probe alleged illegal coal mining in Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve

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The petitioner challenged the approval given by the National Board of Wild Life (NBWL) allowing coal mining in 98.59 hectares of reserve forest
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Guwahati: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered to constitute a committee to probe allegations of large scale illegal coal mining by North Eastern Coalfields (NEC) inside Dehing Patkai elephant reserve in Assam’s Tinsukia district.

Responding to a prayer by environment activist Pradip Bhuyan, the NGT recommended the formation of a five-member committee to access the situation.

It said that the panel must included representatives of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), Assam, principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) and an expert from Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati (IIT-G).

The NGT order said, “The committee shall visit the spot and verify on the factual aspects set out by the application and submit a report. In the event there are infractions as alleged, appropriate action in accordance with the law be instituted for taking remedial measures.”

It also asked for an action taken report to be filed before September 10.

In his prayer, the petitioner had challenged the approval given in April this year by the National Board of Wild Life (NBWL) allowing coal mining in 98.59 hectares of reserve forest land from Saleki proposed reserve forest.

He complained that the NEC had been carrying out mining without obtaining clearance under Forest (Conservation) Act.

Though NEC had applied for renewal of its mining leases in 2003, it had not received clearance.

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