Students of Gauhati University have started a digital campaign to stop coal mining in Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts of Assam.
Concerned about the impact of coal mining in the sanctuary, a social media campaign was started by ‘Moi Prokriti’, the Eco Club of Gauhati University. The students of the university came forward and took part in the campaign by posting photos holding flags, by making cartoons and illustrations and videos and posting it on various social media platforms with #SaveDehingPatkai, #MoiProkriti.
Lakhyajit Das, Vice President of Post Graduate Students Union at Gauhati University said, “Evergreen rainforest Dehing Patkai, which is famous for its rich bio-diversity, is now under threat. Illegal coal mining has already made ecological imbalance in the nature. Recently the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has permitted the Coal India Limited to carryout extraction of 98.59 hectares of rainforest land, which will completely destroy the sanctuary. So it is high time to save the ‘Amazon of the East’, Dehing Patkai from the coal mafias.”
He also requested everyone to raise their voice against the coal mining project and to make it a national issue. “We just cannot stand still and watch further devastation. Let’s stand together to save Dehing Patkai,” he said.
Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as ‘the Amazon of the East’, is located in Assam’s Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts. The Dehing Patkai, covering an area of 111 sq. km rainforest was declared as wildlife sanctuary in 2004. It is home of semi-evergreen and lush green flora and rare fauna like Chinese pangolin, flying fox, Slow loris, Stump-tailed macaque, Assamese macaque, Rhesus macaque, Capped langur, Hoolock gibbon, Himalayan black bear etc.
It is the only sanctuary in India which is home to seven different species of wild cats – tiger, leopard, clouded leopard, leopard cat, golden cat, jungle cat and marbled cat.
Nature lovers feel that the ecotourism potential rainforest has been threatened by this decision. Cutting down of trees will lead to biodiversity loss of the place and affect the climate and also the species living there. Animals will suffer due to loss of homes which could lead to man-animal conflicts.