Assam Northeast

Ban on illegal coal mining at Dibrugarh’s Tarajan tea estate

The Dibrugarh district administration has imposed a ban on illegal coal mining at Tarajan tea estate in Naharkatia area. Deputy Commissioner cum district magistrate Pallav Gopal Jha in an order has imposed restriction on illegal coal mining at the tea estate under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

The Tarajan tea estate is located behind the Tarajan hills, 5-km northeast of the Tipam-Deosali hill range under Digboi Forest Division.

“The prohibitory order on illegal coal mining at Tarajan tea estate in Naharkatia will remain in force till further notice. Any person violating the order will be prosecuted under section 188 of the IPC,” the order signed by the deputy commissioner mentioned.

Sources said illegal rat-hole mining has been going at Tarajan tea estate for a long time. The pilferers use to dig out coal from the ground and then it is sold to big parties.

“The entire nexus has been going on under the nose of Joypur police station and after knowing about the illegal activities of rat-hole mining in the area the police do nothing. The coal is locally sold after the mining, and then the coal smugglers transport them through small trucks,” alleges a local.

Meanwhile, the environmentalists and nature lovers expressed satisfiction after the Dibrugarh district administration ban illegal coal mining in the Tarajan tea estate.

Rat-hole mining is the most practiced way of extracting coals in the hills of Meghalaya, where the illegal practice was going on since early 80s. But after the intervention of NGOs and environmentalists, a carpet ban was imposed by NGT since 2014. Meghalaya has witnessed many mining tragedies killing hundreds so far. May 2021 witnessed a major mishap at Jaintia hills where at least 6 miners died in a rat-hole mine.

“We should learn a lesson from the tragedies in Meghalaya’s rat-hole mines. The illegal coal mining near Tarajan tea estate has been going on for a long time. The coal smugglers extract coal whenever they need it. The rat-hole mining is posing a threat to the entire biodiversity and to the miners working there,” said an environmentalist.

Sources said very secretly the coal mining has been going on in the tea estate for long and the coal mafia very secretly transports the coal into small trucks and sold it locally.

The locals informed this to the Dibrugarh district administration and after the intervention of Dibrugarh DC Pallav Gopal Jha the coal mining was totally banned in that place.

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