mining crushing technonogy assam

stone mining in meghalaya destroying lives in assam | deccan herald

"What is the use of working so hard? Just look at the destruction," said Nripen Das, a farmer, while pointing to the numerous elephant footmarks and the destruction left behind in his paddy field by the jumbo herds, often coming down from the hills in neighbouring Meghalaya.

The villagers attribute the increasing problem to the haphazard stone mining on the hills in Meghalaya. "Earlier, elephants used to come out only at night, but now they roam around the paddy fields even during day. They can't stay on the hills as stone miners are exploding the boulders there with bombs, and trees are often cut to make roads to transport the stones and earth," Das said.

The DH correspondent saw stone mining going on the Meghalaya hills, situated about a kilometer north from this village, which is nearly 25-km west of Guwahati. The stones are then transported to the crushing units situated along Assam-Meghalaya border areas, from where they reach the construction sites in Guwahati and its outskirts.

Dinesh Das, a local social activist said, since the forests in Meghalaya are community-owned, the government has very little control over mining in the hills, and this has caused much disturbance to the wildlife.

"These hills are situated on the disputed borders. A case is pending with the Supreme Court for years as both Assam and Meghalaya claim this areas as their own. The mining rackets are taking advantage of lack of administration in the area. Even some people engaged in stone mining are chasing elephants from the hills with air gun, and so they are coming down in fear and for food and water," he said.

According to Das, the elephant problem has affected livelihood ofaround 5,000 farmers in villages like Andherijuli, Bakrapara, Garopara, Satargaon and others all close to the Rani Reserve forest in Assam's Kamrup district.

Podumi Das, wife of farmer Paben Das, looked blank as she stood in her courtyard. "We don't have paddy now. Even bananas, pineapples and jackfruit we grow in our backyards are also eaten by the elephants," said Podumi, standing with her five-year-old daughter, Manjori.

Mohan Rabha (70), a farmer in Puran Sukurberia village, says the elephant problem has increased in the past two decades. "Earlier, we could chase them by beating a tin box or a fireball, but now they don't go even if we attack them with sharp weapons," he said.

Forest officials in Assam cited encroachment and destruction of elephant corridors as the two main reasons of increasing elephant depredation in these areas. Meanwhile, most households have constructed tree-top bamboo huts to keep vigil on their paddy fields and chase elephants at night.

We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve user experience. This includes personalising content and advertising. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, revised Privacy Policy.

kaziranga facing twin threats of rampant mining, erosion: ntca

Hemmed in by rapacious quarrying and river erosion, Indias Kaziranga National Park (KNP) that harbours the worlds largest population of great Indian one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis), is at a high risk of permanently losing its habitat connectivity with the larger Karbi Anglong landscape, a report has warned.

The Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNP/KTR) in central Assam is sandwiched between the Brahmaputra river in the north and the verdant Karbi Anglong hills in the extreme south, together making up the 25,000 square km Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong Landscape (KKL).

The expansive grasslands, swamps and open jungle of the park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are home to 2,413 rhinos, 104 tigers and over 1,100 elephants. During the fierce monsoons, when the Brahmaputra breaks its banks and the water floods Kazirangas grasslands, Karbi Anglong serves as the refuge for the wildlife that migrates over to the hills.

This landscape connectivity that is crucial for the survival of long ranging species like Indian elephant and tigers, is being targeted by indiscriminate stone mining/quarrying units, according to a report by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) that has been accessed by Mongabay-India.

Wild animals can get the sense of upcoming flood and they often move towards high land in the landscape during the flood. Though there are some highlands in Kaziranga, the Karbi Anglong hills serve as a natural highland that are visible to the wild animals from a distance, explained scientist Bibhab Kumar Talukdar, secretary general and CEO of NGO Aaranyak, which works on wildlife and nature conservation in northeast India.

The NTCA has blamed the stone mining/quarrying and stone crushers established in the intervening area between Kaziranga and Karbi Anglong hills for destruction of wildlife corridors and vital wildlife habitat which is essential for long ranging species like Indian elephant and tigers.

Observing that lack of corridors and habitat contiguity for wildlife dispersal will have serious implications for long-term conservation of wide-ranging species like tigers and Indian elephants of KTR, the NTCA has directed the Assam government to take immediate action to stop mining, quarrying and stone crusher operations within a 10 km radius of the tiger reserve.

The report and directive comes in response to a complaint filed by activist Rohit Choudhury alleging that significant environmental degradation and habitat destruction has been happening in the foothills of Karbi Anglong hills which is a prime elephant habitat and also part of Kaziranga Karbi Anglong Elephant Reserve.

The NTCA has noted that these stone mining/quarrying and stone crushers are also responsible for drying and siltation of several natural streams and rivulets that flow from Karbi Anglong hills towards Kaziranga.

Some animals, like elephants, use both flood plains of Kaziranga and hills of Karbi Anglong for seasonal needs and the free movement of wild elephants is essential. Further, if mining continues in Kaziranga-facing hills of Karbi Anglong, silts and stone dust can damage the wetland ecosystems of Kaziranga and that in turn could create more problem for wetland and grassland dependant species in Kaziranga, Talukdar said.

KNP director Akashdeep Baruah informed Mongabay-India that the impacts of mining on wildlife have been related to an empowered committee in a deposition submitted by the forest department following the NTCA report.

We have given deputation to the empowered committee noting the disturbances caused to wildlife. Mining is falling right in the path of animal corridor. Animal movement is through this region, Baruah said.

The damage to the north-facing (Kaziranga-facing) hills of Karbi Anglong is visible from far away, the report said, pointing out at least 12 villages of Karbi Anglong where a number of stone quarries and stone crusher units are located within a distance of two to four km from the southern boundary of the tiger reserve.

More than 40 stone quarries have been allowed in the hills slopes facing National Highway 37 that passes along the southern boundaries of the national park, the assessment said, referring to a 2003 communication between the then KNP director and the forest department.

It has stated that the precious core (of the park) populated with high density of Indian rhino, Indian elephant, wild buffalo and tigers, is getting reduced, due to the twin threats of mining and erosion.

While the southern part of Kaziranga Karbi Anglong landscape is experiencing fast paced urbanisation coupled with destruction of Karbi Anglong hills due to illegal and rampant mining/ quarrying activities, the Kaziranga is also facing another natural threat on its northern boundary.

Erosion is a part of flood plain ecology, I wont say it from a damaging point of view. It is a natural problem, we gain some areas we lose some areas. We also dont advocate embankments because it affects the flood regime, Baruah said.

The landscape of the national park is the creation of natural forces of silt deposition and erosion as has been effected by the river Brahmaputra over the centuries, according to a technical report on the park.

A 2014 study by researchers from the Delhi Universitys department of geography had pointed out that the area available for each rhino had decreased since 1990 while the number of rhinos had gone up. The study said the area available for each rhino during 1990 was approximately 0.31 square km. The area decreased to 0.16 square km during 2009.

From this, it is clear that, year by year the rhinos are increasing because of the presence of suitable habitat and management effort. But simultaneously, the suitable area available for each rhino is decreasing in Kaziranga. There are also other herbivores such as wild buffalo and swamp deer which can give competition to rhino for food. The park maybe reaching carrying capacity for rhinos.

The NTCA assessment also talks about a 2010 report by the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) of India titled Performance Audit of Kaziranga National Park Issues and Challenges that shed light on the ever decreasing forest cover due to mining of stone from the hills coupled with the sound pollution from the machineries used in mining operations forcing the elephants to enter human settlements damaging crops and houses of the settlers.

Flagging concerns that a protected area like KTR, is being managed without a proper Tiger Conservation Plan, the NTCA has also asked the state government to take necessary steps for preparation of a TCP for core, buffer and corridor areas and for notifying eco-sensitive zone around KNP and KTR.

The NTCA has sought a TCP at the earliest for the Kaziranga Tiger Reserve as mandated under Section 38V of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, to continue funding assistance under the ministrys Project Tiger scheme.

Keeping in view the long-term conservation of mega herbivores like Indian rhinoceros, Indian elephant and mega carnivores such as the tiger, the Kaziranga Tiger Reserve boundary may be rationalised by including areas of Karbi-Anglong adjoining Kaziranga, the report suggested.

Apart from the physical disfigurement of Karbi Anglong hills, another worrying development is abandoning of these areas by most of the wildlife. A decade ago, it was common to hear calls of barking deer and Hoolock gibbon near the foothills and now it has become very rare. Similarly, gaur, Indian elephants, Indian rhinos and tigers and many other wild animals have abandoned the area, Choudhury told Mongabay-India.

[Editors note: The sentence The park spread out over an area of 860 square km has the highest density and the third highest population of tigers in the countrywas updated to specify that KNP has the highest density based on the 2014 tiger survey results.]

mining, erosion threaten indian rhino haven

Indias Kaziranga National Park, which harbors the worlds largest population of greater one-horned rhinoceroses (Rhinoceros unicornis), is at a high risk of permanently losing its habitat connectivity with the larger Karbi Anglong landscape, part of the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot,due to rapacious quarrying and river erosion, a new report has warned.

The Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNP/KTR) is located in the eastern state of Assam, sandwiched between the Brahmaputra River in the north and the verdant Karbi Anglong hills in the extreme south. Together they make up the 25,000-square-kilometer (9,650-square-mile) Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong Landscape.

The expansive grasslands, swamps and open jungle of the park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are home to more than 2,400 rhinos, 100 tigers and 1,100 elephants. During the fierce monsoons, when the Brahmaputra bursts its banks and floods Kazirangas grasslands, Karbi Anglong serves as arefuge for the wildlife that migrates over to the hills.

This landscape connectivity, crucial for the survival of long-ranging species like Indian elephants (Elephas maximus indicus) and Bengal tigers (Panthera tigris tigris), is under threat from indiscriminate rock mining and quarrying, according to a report by IndiasNational Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)seen by Mongabay-India.

Wild animals can get the sense of upcoming flood and they often move towards high land in the landscape during the flood,said Bibhab Kumar Talukdar, secretary general and CEO of the NGO Aaranyak in Assam. Though there are some highlands in Kaziranga, the Karbi Anglong hills serve as a natural highland that are visible to the wild animals from a distance.

The NTCA report blames the stone mining/quarrying and stone crushers established in the intervening area between Kaziranga and Karbi Anglong hills for destruction of wildlife corridors and vital wildlife habitat essential for elephants and tigers.

Observing that lack of corridors and habitat contiguity for wildlife dispersal will have serious implications for long-term conservation of wide-ranging species like tigers and Indian elephants of KTR, the NTCA has directed the Assam government to take immediate action to stop mining, quarrying and stone-crushing operations within a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) radius of the tiger reserve.

The NTCA report and directive comes in response to a complaint filed by activist Rohit Choudhury alleging significant environmental degradation and habitat destruction in the foothills of Karbi Anglong, which is a prime elephant habitat and also part of Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong Elephant Reserve.

Some animals, like elephants, use both flood plains of Kaziranga and hills of Karbi Anglong for seasonal needs and the free movement of wild elephants is essential, he said. Further, if mining continues in Kaziranga-facing hills of Karbi Anglong, silts and stone dust can damage the wetland ecosystems of Kaziranga and that in turn could create more problem for wetland and grassland dependent species in Kaziranga.

KNP director Akashdeep Baruah told Mongabay-India that the impacts of mining on wildlife had been relayed to an empowered committee in a deposition submitted by the forest department following the NTCA report.

We have given deputation to the empowered committee noting the disturbances caused to wildlife. Mining is falling right in the path of animal corridor. Animal movement is through this region, Baruah said.

The damage to the north-facing (Kaziranga-facing) hills of Karbi Anglong is visible from far away, the report said, pointing out at least 12 villages of Karbi Anglong where a number of stone quarries and stone-crusher units are located within a distance of 2 to 4 kilometers (1.2 to 2.5 miles) from the southern boundary of the tiger reserve.

More than 40 stone quarries have been allowed in the hill slopes facing National Highway 37 that passes along the southern boundary of the national park, the report added, referring to a 2003 communication between the then KNP director and the forest department.

The NTCA assessment also mentioned a 2010 report by the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) of India titled Performance Audit of Kaziranga National Park Issues and Challenges that shed light on the ever decreasing forest cover due to mining of stone from the hills coupled with the sound pollution from the machineries used in mining operations. These disruptions forced the elephants to enter human settlements, damaging crops and settlers houses.

According to the report, precious core (of the park) populated with high density of Indian rhino, Indian elephant, wild buffalo and tigers, is getting reduced due to the twin threats of mining and erosion.

While the southern part of Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong landscape is experiencing fast paced urbanisation coupled with destruction of Karbi Anglong hills due to illegal and rampant mining/quarrying activities, the Kaziranga is also facing another natural threat on its northern boundary, the report said.Every year, the river Brahmaputra is continuously eroding the northern and eastern bank of Kaziranga core.

Experts have in the past describedthe landscape of Kaziranga National Park as the creation of natural forces of silt deposition and erosion as has been effected by the river Brahmaputra over the centuries. This process of erosion and deposition is an ongoing process, they wrote in a 2005 report, which becomes acute during the floods that occur at regular intervals during the monsoon season.

A 2014 studyfound that while rhino numbers had gone up in the national park since 1990, the area available for each rhino had decreased from about 0.31 square kilometers (0.12 square miles) in 1990 to 0.16 square kilometers (0.06 square miles) in 2009. The researchers listed erosion as one of the factors likely responsible for the habitat loss, especially on the northern boundary of the park formed by the Brahmaputra River.

From this, it is clear that, year by year the rhinos are increasing because of the presence of suitable habitat and management effort, the authors wrote in the paper. But simultaneously, the suitable area available for each rhino is decreasing in Kaziranga. There are also other herbivores such as wild buffalo and swamp deer which can give competition to rhino for food. The park maybe reaching carrying capacity for rhinos.

Flagging concerns that a protected area like the KTR, is being managed without a proper Tiger Conservation Plan (TCP), the NTCA has also asked the Assam government to take necessary steps for the preparation of a TCP for the parks core, buffer and corridor areas, and for designating an eco-sensitive zone around the KNP and KTR.

The NTCA has sought a TCP at the earliest for the Kaziranga Tiger Reserve as mandated under Section 38V of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, to continue funding assistance under the ministrys Project Tiger scheme.

Keeping in view the long-term conservation of mega herbivores like Indian rhinoceros, Indian elephant and mega carnivores such as the tiger, the Kaziranga Tiger Reserve boundary may be rationalised by including areas of Karbi-Anglong adjoining Kaziranga, the report said.

Apart from the physical disfigurement of Karbi Anglong hills, another worrying development is abandoning of these areas by most of the wildlife, he said. A decade ago, it was common to hear calls of barking deer and Hoolock gibbon near the foothills and now it has become very rare. Similarly, gaur, Indian elephants, Indian rhinos and tigers and many other wild animals have abandoned the area.

ongc announces $1.83bn investment in assam

Note: When you select a default region you will be directed to the MiningWeekly.com home page of your choice whenever you visit miningweekly.com. This setting is controlled by cookies and should your cookies be re-set you will then be directed to the regional edition associated with the geographic location of our IP address. Should your cookies be reset then you may again use the drop-down menu to select a default region.

Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. To access earlier articles, click Advanced Search and set an earlier date range.To search for a term containing the '&' symbol, click Advanced Search and use the 'search headings' and/or 'in first paragraph' options.

KOLKATA (miningweekly.com) - Indian oil and gas exploration and production major ONGC has firmed up investments to the tune of $1.83-billion over the next five years to ramp up its production in the north-eastern state of Assam.

ONGC is giving impetus to increasing its production base in Assam in line with the governments ambitious plan of reducing countrys import dependency by 10% by 2022 and also in line with the North Eastern Hydrocarbon Vision 2030, the company said in a statement.

The Assam projects are part of ONGCs 'Energy Strategy 2040', according to which the company is hopeful of completing 27 ongoing projects entailing aggregate investments of $12.25-billion over the next four years.

The document lays down targets of cumulative upstream output (local and overseas), almost doubling it from current levels. It sets out plans for 2% and 5% compounded annual growth for domestic and international operations, respectively.

Its stepped-up investment commitments followed a meeting between the Finance Ministry and all major government-run companies, wherein the latter were directed to step up funds in new projects to revive growth in the economy, which has been showing signs of deflation over the past several months.

Officials in the Ministry also stressed the need for release of payments for procurement and other contracts without delay to infuse liquidity in a time bound manner, and speedy resolution of outstanding payments which might have been held up on account of disputes.

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter EMAIL THIS ARTICLE SAVE THIS ARTICLE ARTICLE ENQUIRY To subscribe email [email protected] or click here To advertise email [email protected] or click here