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Union protests haphazard mining

- Konyak body protests impact on environment

Jorhat, Feb. 19: The serious impact of unscientific mining on the environment has forced the powerful Konyak Union, the apex body of the Konyaks, to consider imposing a ban on mining in Mon district of Nagaland, the home of the community.

In the advisory board meeting held yesterday, the union threatened to impose a ban on mining in the district from October if the government fails to take appropriate measures in stopping unscientific and haphazard mining of coal in the eastern Nagaland district.

The union has also invited officials of the geology and mining and environment and forest departments to visit the mining areas for an on the spot verification of the impact on the environment because of mining.

The central geological programming board mentioned in its report last year that Nagaland does not seem concerned about the environmental degradation that unorganised and haphazard mineral exploitation in the state is causing.

The general secretary of the union, Hosea Konyak, told The Telegraph today over phone that the union has decided to impose a ban on coal mining in Mon district from October if the government fails to take appropriate measures to check haphazard mining activities.

“Water sources in various places near the coalfields have already been polluted and we fear if this kind of mining activities go on, there would be a severe impact. This will also turn out to be a serious health hazard for the next generation,” Hosea said.

The union also urged the government not to renew or issue any more coalmine licences in Mon district.

It has advised the respective village councils, individuals and contractors concerned to strictly adhere to the notifications.

Coal mining in Mon district started in 2008 and there are about three coal fields in the district from where 10 to 15 trucks ferry coal from these fields daily to Assam and the neighbouring states through Sonari town in Sivasagar district of Assam.

Hosea said since 2008-09, the geology and mining department had issued random coal mining licences to various firms and individuals like TCP (Tiru Coalmine Project) and NCP (Nagaland Coalmine Project) for extraction of coal from areas like Tiru, Naganimora and Tizit areas.

However, none of these firms or individuals has carried out re-filling or re-plantation drives in the excavation areas, as agreed upon in the MoU signed with the authorities.

Now the coalmine areas are posing a danger to the people, apart from having a serious impact on the environment, Hosea said.

The union also alleged that the geology and mining department officials are only collecting money from the contractors but have never given importance to the safety measures for human lives and the environment.

“We have no option left but to think of a ban on coal mining in the district if the government fails to take necessary steps,” he said.