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Open cast coal mining rampant in Nagaland

Spl. Report , DIMAPUR, JUL 17(NPN)
Published on 18 Jul. 2011 1:46 AM IST
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Entire landscape in several districts of Mokokchung and Mon in particular, are being dotted with increasing number of open cast coal mining by scores of prospectors, reminiscent of the ‘gold rush’ days in America and Africa with worrying consequences on the risk and the environment.
Unlike gold, prospectors don’t have to look far for their ‘black diamond’ as it can be located without much difficult though the quantity and quality could only be properly assessed scientifically.
Nagaland’s coal belt stretching across the ‘Belt of Schuppen’ spreads from Peren, Dimapur, Wokha, Mokokchung and Mon districts and also includes portions of Tuensang district (Tuensang, Konya, Chingmeiand Pesao).
Open cast coal mining has become like the ‘log business’ of a few decades that had turned almost every enterprising into a log businessman.
In Tuli subdivision, open cast coal mining is as rampant as in other parts of Mokokchung.
The sight of numerous coal mines and coal can be seen while driving across the NH 61 after Amguri. It was learnt that most of the coal, except certain pockets, are mainly of lignite variety while in a few places of bituminous variety. Most of the mines were evidently unscientific and haphazard.
Coal mining in Nagaland has yet to be properly regulated in order to ensure protection of the environment, streamlining of royalty and transportation outside. Coal found in the area is widely distributed and a good number of local entrepreneurs have taken up the business on a wide scale.
Politicians, it is reported, have already bought large tracts of forest lands from villagers and not only within Tuli but other sub divisions and making good money for the next election.

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