Assam government is committed to protect the environment, says CM Sonowal, amid #SaveDehingPatkai move
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Assam government is committed to protect the environment, says CM Sonowal, amid #SaveDehingPatkai move

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In view of the online campaign and public opposition to the coal mining move, the CM instructed forest and environment minister Parimal Suklabaidya to visit the reserve forest and take stock of the ground situation there.

Amid an online campaign to stop proposed coal mining in Assam’s Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday committed to save state’s environment.

“The Assam government is committed to protect the environment and biodiversity of the state and will not compromise with its stand in the name of development initiatives,” Sonowal said in a statement.

In view of the online campaign and public opposition to the coal mining move, the CM instructed forest and environment minister Parimal Suklabaidya to visit the reserve forest and take stock of the ground situation there.

He instructed the minister to conduct a field study of the present situation in the reserve and apprise the government.

Sonowal stressed that the government is always in favour of sustainable development which is in sync with ecology.

The CM’s statement comes at a time when students and environment activists in Assam have launched an online campaign with the hashtag #SaveDehingPatkai to stop coal mining in the elephant reserve.

The campaign follows a recommendation by the National Board of Wild Life (NBWL) last month that part of 98.59 hectares of the reserve forest be used for opencast coal mining. The rest of the area could be considered for underground coal mining, the body said.

The move is expected to have a negative effect on flora and fauna in Dehing Patkai elephant reserve, which is part of Dehing Patkai wildlife sanctuary spread across 111 sq km in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts. It is said to be the largest tropical lowland rainforest in India.