Aaranyak raises concern over open cast coal mining in biodiversity-rich eastern Assam

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Biodiversity conservation society, Aaranyak has raised its concern over the reports on approval being granted for open cast coal mining in Saleki Proposed Reserved Forest within Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve.The premier NGO working in the field of research and conservation of biodiversity and environment protection in Northeast India stated that the “open cast coal mining should be done away with in phased manner in eastern Assam”. Aaranyak said alternative livelihood opportunities should be created for the “local people whose livelihood is dependent upon the on-going legal coal mining”.The NGO, however, acknowledged the need for extraction of coal for the nation’s development. However it urged user agencies and Ministry of Mining to explore other environment friendly technologies for future extraction of coal without affecting biodiversity rich areas.“We are also of the view that non-renewable energy options like solar power should be widely promoted to reduce dependence on coal-fired power in the long run in the NE region,” it said.Aaranyak said while user agency like coal companies pay compensation to the forest department for the forest areas taken on lease for extraction of coal and the fund goes to CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority). …

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