Coal production at the Tikok mine has been suspended from October 2019 because it is awaiting Stage II clearance from the MoEFCC
There has been opposition to coal mining in Tikok mine because it falls under Saleki Proposed Reserve Forest of Digboi in Assam
New Delhi: In a letter to Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi, the AIACE (All India Association of Coal Executives) has sought intervention from the government to revive operations at Tikok OCP (open cast project) of North Eastern Coalfields (NEC), the Assam-based subsidiary of Coal India Limited. Coal production at the mine has been suspended from October 2019 because it is awaiting Stage II clearance from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
There has been opposition to coal mining in Tikok mine because it falls under Saleki Proposed Reserve Forest of Digboi in Assam. Environmental groups have claimed that mining in the area will pose a threat to the environment and wildlife.
Coal production from Tikok OCP has stopped
While pointing out that production from Tikok OCP has stopped, the AIACE said, “There seems to be no way out to resume the production by mine expansion Due to this, workforce of NEC are compelled to think their posting here as a punishment as no productive work is assigned to them for coal production.”
“Needless to say that CIL is the sole provider of livelihood to as many as 50,000 of the population who are directly or indirectly dependent on mining operations. But we suspect that a handful of chauvinist and persons with vested interest are engaged in blocking the path of development here. Under, the circumstances, it is requested that a time-bound action for early settlement of the above issues may kindly be initiated under your able and dynamic leadership,” the AIACE said.
The AIACE has also urged Joshi to transfer employees from NEC to other production companies of CIL, if it is not possible to start the closed mine by awarding approval.
NEC Tikok OCP was given Stage I clearance in 2019
NEC first applied for forest clearance in 2003 to the government of Assam and submitted another application in 2012. Following these, a Stage I clearance was granted in December 2019 subject to 28 conditions. One of the conditions mandates obtaining clearance from NBWL (National Board for Wild Life). The final clearance for the project, which is Stage 11, will be granted by the Environment Ministry after fulfillment of certain conditions by NEC and only then extraction of coal can be done.
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