Meghalaya villagers root for tigers
Illegal coal mining on the boundary of the Balpakram National Park in Meghalaya sparked the ire of locals and NGOs who joined hands to send a legal notice to the state forest department authorities.
Road construction activities near the park not only endanger tigers and other species such as hoolock gibbons, elephants, leopards and Great Indian Hornbills, but also rare plants such as orchids and pitcher plants. Mining also poses a threat to the Siju Bird Sanctuary that borders the western side of the park. According to the Chitmang Hills Anti-Mining Forum (CHAMF), clearance has not been obtained under the Forest Conservation Act nor has any certificate of consent been granted by the Meghalaya Pollution Control Board. The NGOs fear that the mining will also pollute the soil and water sources and adversely affect the 600 families living in 26 villages in the area. Following a legal notice, the District Commissioner has been asked to investigate the issue.