Three coal mining workers died on September 18, 2022, due to suspected inhalation of poisonous gas while working in a rat hole coal mining at Tikok Malu hills in the Ledo area under the Margherita subdivision of Tinsukia district. Saidul Islam, Hussain Ali, and Asmat Ali, all under thirty, died since it was suspected that there were no preventive measures against the deadly impact of environmental hazards. Here it was the poisonous gas emitting in the mine. According to reports in the national dailies, illegal mining is continuing under the knowledge of district authorities. It is a common phenomenon. The hapless workers, in search of employment which has become a rare commodity, accept the mining jobs in these rat holes that have turned into death traps in the absence of inadequate security measures. Apart from gas, there are accidental deaths too as the mines are left without any measures of renovation. Human lives are considered cheaper than the coal they bring from the mines.
The first time it was in Jogighopa, 900 km from the recent spot. This rat hole is not the only one, there are at least one thousand such mines in this district alone. The voices against the hazards are not allowed to be raised. Rat hole mining is not the only threat to life, whether it is human life, wildlife, or the green life of nature itself. But in each of these cases, the responsibility falls on the greed to exploit nature. Dehing Patkai Park is spread out over an area of 89.44 km of rainforest, declared a wildlife sanctuary, on June 13, 2004. On December 13, 2020, the state government of Assam declared it a national park. On June 9, 2021, the Forest Department of Assam officially notified it as a national park. The national park is spread over the largest stretch of lowland rainforests in India. Despite its mesmerising natural beauty, the National Board for Wild Life has accepted a proposal recommending the usage of 98.59 hectares of land belonging to the Dehing-Patkai Wildlife reserve, for the extraction of coal by Coal India ltd. Dehing is a river flowing through the forest while Patkai is a mountain, and no one is sure what the future has in store for them.
It will not be surprising that the tsunami of all these deadly ailments is found to have the only source, and that is human interference. During the pandemic, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) planned out industrial and infrastructural projects detrimental to environmental security. A new set of rules have been introduced, which is the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2020, and would replace the EIA Notification of 2006, and that would be contrary to principles of environmental protection. The approval granted by NBWL proves a violation of the forest conservation Act, 1080. Even if the countries meet their pledges, we are on track for around 2.5°C of warming, which will be disastrous. The findings are based on an analysis of the latest Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), or country-specific action plans to cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts. The report adds that emissions compared to 2010 levels need to fall 45 percent by 2030 to meet the Paris deal’s goal! The earth itself is rejecting the life that it once celebrated.