Former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi (File image)
Former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi (File image)

Former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Tuesday accused chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal of being “involved” in illegal transportation of coal in the State.

Addressing a press conference at Rajiv Bhavan in Dibrugarh, the former CM alleged that illegal coal mining has been rampantly going on under chief minister Sonowal’s patronage.

“Everyday Illegal coal laden trucks are plying on roads. But even after knowing everything, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal remains silent,” Gogoi said.

“Coal India Limited sends all its coal through trains. But hundreds of trucks loaded with coal ply on Tinsukia road every day. Recently, a marriage party was killed in an accident involving a coal laden truck,” he added.

The former chief minister said some officials of Coal India Limited in collusion with the coal mafias of Tinsukia, has been carrying out the entire illegal mining process posing a threat to ecology.

“The Dehing Patkai hill has lost its greenery because of illegal coal mining,” Gogoi alleged.

He slammed chief minister Sonowal for keeping mum about the matter.

Sarbananda Sonowal government is giving patronage to the coal mafias of the region. After knowing everything, the government is not taking any step against the smugglers. After BJP came into power the illegal coal smuggling has been going on openly,” Gogoi alleged.

Recently, Congress MP Pradyut Bordoloi had claimed that 4,000-5,000 rat-hole coal mines had sprung up in from Assam over the past three years and that too in 11 reserved forests and a wildlife sanctuary.

Bordoloi had alleged that coal mafias, aided by the Tinsukia district administration in upper Assam, have been systematically destroying the forest.

Avik Chakraborty

Avik Chakraborty is Northeast Now Correspondent in Dibrugarh. He can be reached at: babs8oct@gmail.com