GUWAHATI, June 4 - The Gauhati High Court today issued notices to the Centre, State government, Coal India Limited (CIL) and 14 other respondents after taking up a suo motu PIL against the alleged illegal coal mining in Dehing Patkai forests.
Two other PILs were also filed by advocates Vikram Rajkhowa, and Mrinmoy Khataniar and Amarjyoti Deka.
The suo motu case was taken up and registered based on newspaper reports highlighting the coal mining plan.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Ajay Lamba and Justice Soumitra Saikia has asked the respondents to file the affidavit on or before June 14.
The court has fixed June 20 as the next date of hearing for the suo motu case and the other two PILs.
While the PIL field by Khataniar argued that CIL has been mining without permission for more than a decade, the second PIL filed by Rajkhowa and Deka sought court intervention to declare Dehing Patkai forests, popularly known as the Amazon of the East, as a heritage site under the Biological Diversity Act, 2020.
The petitions also highlighted that Dehing Patkai is an area with rich biological diversity and rain forests, and is home to many rare and endangered species, Schedule I and II animals like elephant, hoollock gibbon, leopard, besides birds including State bird white-winged wood duck, butterflies and orchids.
�The North Eastern Coalfields, Coal India Limited has admitted to conducting opencast coal mining in the Saleki proposed reserved forest without any licence and approval since 2003 in violation of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 among other laws, thereby destroying valuable forests, which is a habitat to many animals, birds and endangered species,� one of the PILs stated.