Students' protest hits coal mining in Ledo

Nearly 200 activists of the Margherita unit of the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) today protested against open-cast mining by Coal India Ltd (CIL), partially disrupting mining in the Ledo area of Tinsukia district.

By Avik Chakraborty in Dibrugarh
  • Published 26.02.16
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Members of AJYCP at Ledo Tikak coal field in Tinsukia district on Thursday. Picture by Avik Chakraborty

Dibrugarh, Feb. 25: Nearly 200 activists of the Margherita unit of the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) today protested against open-cast mining by Coal India Ltd (CIL), partially disrupting mining in the Ledo area of Tinsukia district.

Holding banners and placards, they staged a protest at Ledo-Tikak coal field disrupting work for several hours. They demanded an immediate halt to open-cast mining in the area and raised slogans against CIL.

The demonstration resulted in several coal-laden trucks getting stuck as they were prevented from leaving the coal fields. The general secretary of the AJYCP, Margherita unit, Kanchan Bora, who led the protest, threatened to launch an economic blockade against CIL from March 7 if their demands were not met.

"We will enforce an economic blockade and stop all coal-mining operations of Coal India Ltd in the area. They must realise the hazards of open-cast mining on people's health and environment," Bora said. He also sought job reservation in CIL for people of the area.

"There has been a freeze in recruitment in the North Eastern Coalfields since 1994. They should immediately restart the process. A mining institute should also be set up in the state for the benefit of students of the northeastern region," Bora said.

A. Vailly, general manager of NEC, Margherita, however, did not respond to the development as he was not aware of the protesters' demands. He said he was in Calcutta.

The AJYCP said it would have no problem if CIL switched over to underground mining from open-pit mining. At present, the North Eastern Coalfields which is an arm of CIL, operates four coal mines in the area.

While Tirap, Tikak and Ledo are open-cast mines, only Tipong is an underground mine. "We have submitted a memorandum on February 20 to the North Eastern Coalfields, but they are not taking the matter seriously," Bora alleged.

The North Eastern Coalfields is a unit of Coal India Ltd which has its headquarters in Margherita in Upper Assam.