Coal India illegally mined coal worth Rs 4,900 crore in Assam, commission blames Centre and state

In July 2020, the government of Assam ordered an inquiry into allegations of illegal mining in the state’s Digboi forest division. The division, an administrative category, falls within the larger Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve, one of India’s largest rainforests.

In December 2021, the report of the one-man commission of Justice Brojendra Prasad Katakey was tabled in the state assembly. Over nearly 300 pages, the report details rampant violations by North Eastern Coalfields, or NEC, a subsidiary of Coal India Limited, which is a Central government-owned company and the world’s largest coal miner.

Chief among the violations is the fact that since 2003, NEC had extracted coal valued at Rs 4,872 crore from areas where it did not have mining rights.

In India, any company seeking to mine coal and other minerals must apply for mining leases and other clearances, which are granted by state governments and central ministries for a specific duration. Even government-owned firms must follow the same procedures.

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