On April 24, 2020, National Board for Wild Life (NBWL),the apex body to review all wildlife-related matters, has permitted the use of 98.59 hectares of land at Saleki, a part of the Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve in Assam for opencast coal mining project done by North-Easter Coal Field (NECF), a unit of Coal India Limited. While, the rest of the area may be used for underground coal mining.Key Points:
i.Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve that includes the Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary (also known as Jeypore Rainforest) consists of an 111.19 sq km area of rain forests and several reserve forests in Sivasagar, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts.
ii.The above decision was revealed by the minutes of the 57th Meeting of the Standing Committee of National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) chaired by Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Prakash Javadekar on April 17, 2020 through video-conferencing.
- The NBWL formed a committee in July 2019 to assess the mining sector. It consist of member R. Sukumar, a representative of the wildlife division and the state chief wildlife warden of Assam.
- As per the committee, 57.02 hectares of forest land has already been used for mining by Coal India Limited and that in the remaining 41.39 hectares of unbroken area should be adopted cautiously due to the rich biodiversity.
Chief minister– Sarbananda Sonowal
Governor– Jagdish Mukhi
State Bird– White-winged wood duck
State River– Brahmaputra
About National Board for Wildlife (NBWL):
Formed in 2003 under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, it is under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC). It is responsible for promotion of conservation and development of wildlife and forests.