Assam’s Illegal coal mining: Margherita turns gangs of Wasseypur

By Manoj Kumar Ojha

Doomdooma: After a sensational rape and murder case of a minor student in Assam’s coal Town Margherita in upper Assam’s Tinsukia district, social workers say the illegal coal syndicates runned by the coal mafia is the heart of all crimes.

Margherita which is also known as the Coal Queen of Assam is 49 kilometers southeast of Tinsukia district headquarters and 549 kilometers from the state capital Guwahati.

Relating the crimes with illegal coal syndicates, a social worker and wildlife activist Devajit Moran said, “The coal Mafia is running illegal coal syndicates which is the core cause of all the heinous crimes that has been occurring in Margherita. The people are getting easy money through illegal coal mining, addicted to drugs and committing crimes like rape , murder and involving in all other crimes.In place of going to school they work in illegal mining holes for the greed of getting easy and comparatively more money as wages .”

“Gradually, the place is becoming hubs of crimes as was in Gangs of Wasseypur. They are intended to commit crimes fearlessly as happening in Hindi belt,” Moran said.

Gangs of Wasseypur was a film by Anurag Kashyap released in the year 2012 which revolves around coal mafias in Dhanbad in Jharkhand during colonial times.

Dozens of crimes have been reported in Margherita since long including rapes , murder ,drug paddling, illicit liquor trade, sex scandals, gambling, illegal coal mining, deforestation and many more .

Even as Assam’s chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had insisted earlier they would not allow illegal coal mining in the state, reports say that the supply of coal continues unabated in Margherita in Tinsukia district.

Allegations against coal mafias come time to time that they are running illegal coal syndicates from Margherita, Bargolai,Ledo ,Aradhara,Namtok ,Seleki ,Tipong areas of the district. Many deaths has also been reported due to illegal rat hole mining in past days.

Three cases of rape recently reported in Tinsukia district one under Doomdooma police station, another Bordubi police station and recently under Margherita police station.

Despite the ban on rat-hole mining by the National Green Tribunal(NGT) in 2014, large scale extraction of coal is going in unbatted in Tinsukia and Karbi Anglong districts of Assam which includes reserve forests.

Rat-hole mining is the process of extracting coal and other minerals by digging narrow tunnels deep into the earth and sending down workers using trolleys and ladders to remove the minerals manually. In 2014, NGT had banned it specifically in Meghalaya.

In July 2020, the state government formed a one-man committee comprising retired judge of Gauhati High court, justice BP Katakey to probe allegation of illegal mining in Dehing Patkai.

The panel’s report tabled in the state assembly in December 2021 stated that North Eastern Coalfields, a subsidiary of CIL, had illegally extracted coal worth Rs 4,872 crore from the mining sites inside Dehing Patkai between 2003 and 2020 without obtaining necessary permission.

“Rat-hole mining has been operating in the Ledo-Margherita and parts of Arunachal Pradesh. Their are nearly 1000 rat-hole mines in the area and the coal mafias are engaging labourers to extract coals from the Patkai hill top. The Gauhati High Court has already banned the rat-hole mining but still it has been going on unbatted under the nose of the district administration. Coal mafias who are backed by the politicians are ruling the roost in the entire region,” said a source.

He further said, “Due to illegal rat-hole mining the environment of the region was badly affected. The Patkai hills lost its greenery due to the unbatted illegal mining. The coal mafias using JCB and all kinds of modern technology to extract coal from the Patkai region,”.

The post Assam’s Illegal coal mining: Margherita turns gangs of Wasseypur appeared first on OUR INDIA.


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