Coal India Limited has been slapped with a Rs 43.25 crore penalty by the Assam Forest Department for allegedly carrying out illegal mining inside the Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve forest for almost 16 years.
Along with the fine, the forest department has also filed an FIR at the Sub-Divisional Chief Judicial Magistrate”s Court against officials responsible for the alleged illegal mining between 2003 and 2019.
North-Eastern Coalfields, a unit of the Maharatna PSU however, reportedly claimed that there was mining going on and alleged that the government did not act upon the renewal application.
Since 2003 till 2019, mining activities were reportedly carried without clearance certificate.
The Coal India Limited had a 30-year mining lease but it expired in 2003.
It may be mentioned that the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, which came into force in the year 2003, any activity for non-forest purposes in a protected area needs prior approval from the central government.
Photo Credit: ejatlas.org