TURA, March17 – Opposition to the ongoing unscientific mining in the forests of Garo Hills is gaining momentum with several student and social organizations giving their support to join the campaign for an end to the burning issue that now threatens one of the largest national parks in South Garo Hills.
At Tura, a major meeting of NGOs was held at the circuit house to discuss the future course of action given that illegal coal mining continues unabated as fresh forested areas get destroyed by the extraction of coal and limestone.
The day-long anti-mining programme was organized by well known NGO Samrakshan Trust in close co-ordination with the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), one of the oldest environmental groups in the country that set up base as way back as 1980.
Several participants spoke out against the dangers of unscientific mining and and expressed dismay with the State government for refusing to rein in the mining companies that are flouting the rules since the Union ministry for forests and Environment has not given any clearance to companies to allow extraction of coal but the state government has reportedly not taken any steps to stop it.
More concern has been raised because militant leaders are reportedly getting involved in illegal coal extraction with cases of forced mining at gunpoint being leveled by some of the participants from the mining areas. The famous Sadolpara area that has been a major tourist attraction for its traditional and ethnic preservation is now under threat from the illegal coal mining.. The illegal extraction of coal, allegedly by one senior militant leader, is threatening to permanently damage the environment of the area.
Participants at the anti mining meet revealed that villagers are being forced to allow coal extraction at gun point and authorities are turning a blind eye to the situation.