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Illegal coal mining continues to thrive in Assam's Tinsukia

Reported by

East Street Journal Asia

Legal Review by

Anmol Gupta

Edited by

Anupa Sagar Kujur

Updated by

Published on

January 18, 2024

January 19, 2024

Edited on

January 18, 2024

State

Assam

Sector

Mining

People Affected by Conflict

100

Households Affected by Conflict

480

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

427

ha

Starting Year

2022

Location of Conflict

Ledo

Tikok, Ledo, Namdang, Digboi forest division, Tipam hills, Tipong

Tinsukia

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Coal Mining

Land Conflict Summary

Illegal coal mining has persisted in Assam's Tinsukia district for many years despite constant protests, stricter directions and an unconditional court ban.

Over the years, illegal coal mining has led to severe degradation of the environment and claimed innumerable innocent lives. Several miners and labourers have lost their lives, with their bodies either abandoned permanently or found trapped in illegal mines after several days. In a recent incident, one such death of Pranjal Moran led to widespread protests. Moran's body, placed “40-50 feet” deep in a tunnel and covered up, was found in an illegal set-up at a colliery that is part of the North Eastern Coalfields operated by Coal India Limited.

Such deaths, however, are either under-reported or not officially reported. Pradyut Bordoloi, a senior Congress MP from Assam, told LCW that a number of workers, usually from backward classes, lose their lives in such mines but only a few cases get registered officially.

Stating that rat-hole and illegal coal mining still exists in the forest areas of Tinsukia like the Tipong hills (outside the notified wildlife area), he said, "As a consequence of mining activities, workers from the deprived or backward classes lose their lives. During the monsoon, between February and July, workers die because the mines get flooded. This is a massive scam, and only when there are no options, four-five out of 100 cases get registered on the official record."

Bordoloi said that usually Bengali-speaking migrants and outsiders are hired for work in such mines and in most of the cases, there are no details available about the individuals. He further added that illicit mining has led to massive deforestation in the area.

Rat-hole mining involves digging tunnels 3-4 feet deep, barely allowing workers to crawl in and out. They have to squat while extracting coal with pickaxes. There are two kinds of rat-hole mining - side-cutting and box-cutting mining. While the side-cutting type of mining is usually done on hill slopes, box-cutting entails digging a circular or squarish pit at least 5 square metres in width up to a depth of 400 feet. In the latter, miners have to drop down in makeshift cranes or using rope-and-bamboo ladders and dig horizontally after finding the coal seam. The tunnels are dug in every direction from the edge of the pit, resembling the tentacles of an octopus. This form of coal mining was banned by the National Green Tribunal in 2014.

An investigative report published in a regional daily _Dainik Agradoot _on December 11, 2023, stated that BJP MLA from Margherita, Bhaskar Sharma, was involved in illegal coal trade with the help of surrendered militants and support from ministers from Dispur and Delhi.

In a video footage from India Today, the owner of a coal mine in Tipong, says, "Here you will find the rat-hole mining. You will see young boys, especially the unemployed youth take up a particular area and carry out mining. Coal India has already done mining here. There is no coal left now. Now, if someone wishes to do coal mining here, that won't be possible. One will find coal at a depth of 10-15 feet but beyond that is empty. Hence, when one says that Tipong will be destroyed if an earthquake strikes, is true. Now, if you see that mine, entering into its depth, following rows of steps, Coal India Ltd used high-end tools and destroyed a vast expanse of land."

Coal India officials also did not respond to LCW’s queries.  

Apart from Ledo-Margherita, illegal coal mining activities have been taking place in full capacity in multiple other locations including Digboi Forest Division and multiple villages along the Assam-Arunachal border area. Sources said, there are rampant illegal rat-hole mines in proposed Saleki Reserve Forest, Paharpur, Lalpahar, Aradhara and Jharnabasti under Digboi Forest Division.

In 2022, Margherita police arrested over seven miners for illegal rat-hole mining activities in the Namdang colliery.
That year, locals, various organisations and environmental activists staged widespread protests against illegal coal mining, following which the authorities in August issued prohibitory orders restricting the entry of unauthorised persons into the reserved forest areas of Lekhapani, Tirap and Tipang. But, despite the order, illegal mining activities and transportation of such coal continues in these areas.

It is important to note that on 26 March, 2022, Union Minister of Coal and Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi along with the Chief Minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sharma had inaugurated the operations at Tikak Colliery of NEC at Margherita in Assam’s Tinsukia district, commencing its re-operation.

Devojit Moran, secretary of Green Bud NGO, said that over 1,000 rat hole mines are being operated in Margherita, Ledo and Kharsang area alone.

Dr. Lakshmanan S, IAS, Secretary to the Government of Assam, Mines & Minerals Department, and N. Anand, IFS, Director, Directorate of Geology & Mining, Guwahati did not respond to queries sent by LCW. 

In February 2023, Axom Jatiya Parishad (AJP), a newly formed conglomerate of regional leaders petitioned to Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging that the illegal rat-hole mining of coal has continued in parts of Assam. "The report of the (probe) commission highlighted the danger of deforestation. Needless to mention that it (rat-hole mining) has a serious impact on the overall environment and ecology of the areas,” the memorandum said.

In April 2023, the Gauhati High Court directed the Centre and the Assam government to ensure that no illegal mining activities take place in a forest area under Digboi division in Upper Assam. The court also issued a notice to the Forest Department and Coal India Limited in connection with alleged illegal coal mining at Ledo-Margherita locality in Assam’s Tinsukia district.

Fact Sheet

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for compensation

Opposition against environmental degradation

Demand to cancel the project

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest

What was the action taken by the police?

How many people did the police detain or arrest?

What is the current status of the detained/accused persons?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

If any arrests took place, were the accused persons produced before a judge within 24 hours of the arrest?

If the accused was not produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, or not produced at all, what were the reasons?

Legislation under which the accused was charged

Was the accused person informed of their right to legal representation? Did the accused person have access to legal aid?

In cases where the accused person approached the court for bail, was bail granted?

Why was bail granted or rejected? If granted, what were the bail conditions and quantum of bail?

Were there any other notable irregularities that took place, or other significant details?

Details of sources (names of accused, names and numbers of any lawyers, names of any police officers contacted)

Status of Project

Original Project Deadline

Whether the Project has been Delayed

Significance of Land to Land Owners/Users

Other Natural Resource extraction/dependence, Other environmental services

Whether the project was stalled due to land conflict

Source/Reference

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Legal Data

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957
Section 4. [No person shall undertake any mining operations in any area except under a mining lease granted under the Act] Section 21 [Whenever anyone raises or transports minerals without lawful authority as under this act, tools or transport used for such activity can be seized by government authorities. State government may recover illegally taken minerals.]
Mines Act, 1952
Section 16 [Owner or manager of a mine to give notice to the district magistrate and Chief Inspector, Indian Bureau of Mines at least a month prior to commencement of any mining operation.] Section 75 [Chief Inspector or district magistrate to initiate prosecution against any owner/ manager of mines.]
Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006
Section 24 [No person shall knowingly cause any polluting matter to be discharged into any stream or well or on land] Section 25 [No person, without prior consent of State Pollution Control Board, to establish any industry which is likely to discharge sewage or trade effluent into water body]
Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
Section 24 [No person shall knowingly cause any polluting matter to be discharged into any stream or well or on land] Section 25 [No person, without prior consent of State Pollution Control Board, to establish any industry which is likely to discharge sewage or trade effluent into water body]
Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
Section 2: [Forestland cannot be used for any non-forest purpose without prior approval of the Union government]
  1. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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  3. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  4. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  5. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  6. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  7. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Violation of environmental laws

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Gauhati High Court, National Green Tribunal

Case Number

Original Application No.48/2023/EZ, PIL(Suo Moto)/3/2018

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

In July 2023, the National Green Tribunal (Eastern Zone bench) took up the matter suo motu after news of Pranjal Moran broke out. A compliance report of a committee constituted by the Tribunal was filed, stating that the entry points to the mine were fenced off with barbed wire. The report confirmed that illegal mining was being carried out by organized gangs. A report filed by the superintendent of police in the area also was considered, indicating that there was foul play involved in the death of Moran. And that the police had arrested some of the people involved in the crime. On August 22, 2023, the Tribunal disposed of the matter, directing that the mines in question should secured by the deputy commissioner. The Gauhati High Court in 2018 took suo motu cognizance of illegal mining in Tipong area in Dibrugarh, Assam. In August 2023, the Court noted that the issue of historical sites belonging to the pre-Ahom era were also being threatened. However, no substantial order has been passed since the time of cognizance. The matter was last heard on December 7, 2023. There is no information regarding the next date of hearing as of now.

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Killing

Judicial harassment

Torture

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Additional Information

Nature of Protest

Campaigns (grassroots organisations/press releases/media)

Protests/marches

Advocacy (for inclusion in courts)

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Media-based activism/alternative media

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC); Pollution Control Board of Assam, Central Pollution Control Board, Shillong, Directorate of Geology & Mining Department (Assam), Deputy Commissioner's Office (Tinsukia)

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

North East Coalfield India Ltd

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

We tried to contact Coal India Limit but got no response.

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

We tried to contact Coal India Limit but got no response.

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Coal India Ltd

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Yes

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP)

Information on the use of criminal law

What was the action taken by the police?

How many people did the police detain or arrest?

What is the current status of the detained/accused persons?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

If any arrests took place, were the accused persons produced before a judge within 24 hours of the arrest?

If the accused was not produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, or not produced at all, what were the reasons?

Legislation under which the accused was charged

Was the accused person informed of their right to legal representation? Did the accused person have access to legal aid?

In cases where the accused person approached the court for bail, was bail granted?

Why was bail granted or rejected? If granted, what were the bail conditions and quantum of bail?

Were there any other notable irregularities that took place, or other significant details?

Resources

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Images

Wife of illegal coal mining victim in Ledo (Late Pranjal Moran) protests after her husband went missing in a colliery

Image Credit:  

Sibnath C.

Community protests against illegal coal mining in Ledo-Margherita to investigate and book the culprits involved in the killings

Image Credit:  

Sibnath C.

Video

Sibnath C.

Illegal coal mining has persisted in Assam's Tinsukia district for many years despite constant protests, stricter directions and an unconditional court ban.

Over the years, illegal coal mining has led to severe degradation of the environment and claimed innumerable innocent lives. Several miners and labourers have lost their lives, with their bodies either abandoned permanently or found trapped in illegal mines after several days. In a recent incident, one such death of Pranjal Moran led to widespread protests. Moran's body, placed “40-50 feet” deep in a tunnel and covered up, was found in an illegal set-up at a colliery that is part of the North Eastern Coalfields operated by Coal India Limited.

Such deaths, however, are either under-reported or not officially reported. Pradyut Bordoloi, a senior Congress MP from Assam, told LCW that a number of workers, usually from backward classes, lose their lives in such mines but only a few cases get registered officially.

Stating that rat-hole and illegal coal mining still exists in the forest areas of Tinsukia like the Tipong hills (outside the notified wildlife area), he said, "As a consequence of mining activities, workers from the deprived or backward classes lose their lives. During the monsoon, between February and July, workers die because the mines get flooded. This is a massive scam, and only when there are no options, four-five out of 100 cases get registered on the official record."

Bordoloi said that usually Bengali-speaking migrants and outsiders are hired for work in such mines and in most of the cases, there are no details available about the individuals. He further added that illicit mining has led to massive deforestation in the area.

Rat-hole mining involves digging tunnels 3-4 feet deep, barely allowing workers to crawl in and out. They have to squat while extracting coal with pickaxes. There are two kinds of rat-hole mining - side-cutting and box-cutting mining. While the side-cutting type of mining is usually done on hill slopes, box-cutting entails digging a circular or squarish pit at least 5 square metres in width up to a depth of 400 feet. In the latter, miners have to drop down in makeshift cranes or using rope-and-bamboo ladders and dig horizontally after finding the coal seam. The tunnels are dug in every direction from the edge of the pit, resembling the tentacles of an octopus. This form of coal mining was banned by the National Green Tribunal in 2014.

An investigative report published in a regional daily _Dainik Agradoot _on December 11, 2023, stated that BJP MLA from Margherita, Bhaskar Sharma, was involved in illegal coal trade with the help of surrendered militants and support from ministers from Dispur and Delhi.

In a video footage from India Today, the owner of a coal mine in Tipong, says, "Here you will find the rat-hole mining. You will see young boys, especially the unemployed youth take up a particular area and carry out mining. Coal India has already done mining here. There is no coal left now. Now, if someone wishes to do coal mining here, that won't be possible. One will find coal at a depth of 10-15 feet but beyond that is empty. Hence, when one says that Tipong will be destroyed if an earthquake strikes, is true. Now, if you see that mine, entering into its depth, following rows of steps, Coal India Ltd used high-end tools and destroyed a vast expanse of land."

Coal India officials also did not respond to LCW’s queries.  

Apart from Ledo-Margherita, illegal coal mining activities have been taking place in full capacity in multiple other locations including Digboi Forest Division and multiple villages along the Assam-Arunachal border area. Sources said, there are rampant illegal rat-hole mines in proposed Saleki Reserve Forest, Paharpur, Lalpahar, Aradhara and Jharnabasti under Digboi Forest Division.

In 2022, Margherita police arrested over seven miners for illegal rat-hole mining activities in the Namdang colliery.
That year, locals, various organisations and environmental activists staged widespread protests against illegal coal mining, following which the authorities in August issued prohibitory orders restricting the entry of unauthorised persons into the reserved forest areas of Lekhapani, Tirap and Tipang. But, despite the order, illegal mining activities and transportation of such coal continues in these areas.

It is important to note that on 26 March, 2022, Union Minister of Coal and Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi along with the Chief Minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sharma had inaugurated the operations at Tikak Colliery of NEC at Margherita in Assam’s Tinsukia district, commencing its re-operation.

Devojit Moran, secretary of Green Bud NGO, said that over 1,000 rat hole mines are being operated in Margherita, Ledo and Kharsang area alone.

Dr. Lakshmanan S, IAS, Secretary to the Government of Assam, Mines & Minerals Department, and N. Anand, IFS, Director, Directorate of Geology & Mining, Guwahati did not respond to queries sent by LCW. 

In February 2023, Axom Jatiya Parishad (AJP), a newly formed conglomerate of regional leaders petitioned to Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging that the illegal rat-hole mining of coal has continued in parts of Assam. "The report of the (probe) commission highlighted the danger of deforestation. Needless to mention that it (rat-hole mining) has a serious impact on the overall environment and ecology of the areas,” the memorandum said.

In April 2023, the Gauhati High Court directed the Centre and the Assam government to ensure that no illegal mining activities take place in a forest area under Digboi division in Upper Assam. The court also issued a notice to the Forest Department and Coal India Limited in connection with alleged illegal coal mining at Ledo-Margherita locality in Assam’s Tinsukia district.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for compensation

Opposition against environmental degradation

Demand to cancel the project

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957
Section 4. [No person shall undertake any mining operations in any area except under a mining lease granted under the Act] Section 21 [Whenever anyone raises or transports minerals without lawful authority as under this act, tools or transport used for such activity can be seized by government authorities. State government may recover illegally taken minerals.]
Mines Act, 1952
Section 16 [Owner or manager of a mine to give notice to the district magistrate and Chief Inspector, Indian Bureau of Mines at least a month prior to commencement of any mining operation.] Section 75 [Chief Inspector or district magistrate to initiate prosecution against any owner/ manager of mines.]
Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006
Section 24 [No person shall knowingly cause any polluting matter to be discharged into any stream or well or on land] Section 25 [No person, without prior consent of State Pollution Control Board, to establish any industry which is likely to discharge sewage or trade effluent into water body]
Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
Section 24 [No person shall knowingly cause any polluting matter to be discharged into any stream or well or on land] Section 25 [No person, without prior consent of State Pollution Control Board, to establish any industry which is likely to discharge sewage or trade effluent into water body]
Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
Section 2: [Forestland cannot be used for any non-forest purpose without prior approval of the Union government]
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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  3. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  6. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  7. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Violation of environmental laws

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Gauhati High Court, National Green Tribunal

Case Number

Original Application No.48/2023/EZ, PIL(Suo Moto)/3/2018

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

In July 2023, the National Green Tribunal (Eastern Zone bench) took up the matter suo motu after news of Pranjal Moran broke out. A compliance report of a committee constituted by the Tribunal was filed, stating that the entry points to the mine were fenced off with barbed wire. The report confirmed that illegal mining was being carried out by organized gangs. A report filed by the superintendent of police in the area also was considered, indicating that there was foul play involved in the death of Moran. And that the police had arrested some of the people involved in the crime. On August 22, 2023, the Tribunal disposed of the matter, directing that the mines in question should secured by the deputy commissioner. The Gauhati High Court in 2018 took suo motu cognizance of illegal mining in Tipong area in Dibrugarh, Assam. In August 2023, the Court noted that the issue of historical sites belonging to the pre-Ahom era were also being threatened. However, no substantial order has been passed since the time of cognizance. The matter was last heard on December 7, 2023. There is no information regarding the next date of hearing as of now.

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Killing

Judicial harassment

Torture

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Campaigns (grassroots organisations/press releases/media)

Protests/marches

Advocacy (for inclusion in courts)

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Media-based activism/alternative media

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC); Pollution Control Board of Assam, Central Pollution Control Board, Shillong, Directorate of Geology & Mining Department (Assam), Deputy Commissioner's Office (Tinsukia)

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

North East Coalfield India Ltd

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

We tried to contact Dr. Lakshmanan S, IAS, Secretary to the Govt. of Assam, Mines & Minerals Department Assam Secretariat but couldn't connect to him. Our team also tried to contact Shri N. Anand, IFS, Director, Directorate of Geology & Mining, Guwahati. No response received.

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

We tried to contact Coal India Limit but got no response.

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Coal India Ltd

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

We tried to contact Coal India Limit but got no response.

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP)

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
Wife of illegal coal mining victim in Ledo (Late Pranjal Moran) protests after her husband went missing in a colliery

Wife of illegal coal mining victim in Ledo (Late Pranjal Moran) protests after her husband went missing in a colliery

Image Credit:  

Sibnath C.

Wife of illegal coal mining victim in Ledo (Late Pranjal Moran) protests after her husband went missing in a colliery

Community protests against illegal coal mining in Ledo-Margherita to investigate and book the culprits involved in the killings

Image Credit:  

Sibnath C.

Sibnath C.

Documented By

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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

Text LinkLand Conflict Watch

Other Land Conflicts in Assam

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