Coalfields in Upper Assam and adjoining districts of eastern Arunachal Pradesh have got new players in the business. If government reports are to be believed,then as many as three rebel groups NSCN(IM),NSCN(K) and ULFA have already entered into coal business.
However,the latest entrant into this business a sizeable portion of which is illegal or irregular are some Maoist elements,with recent official reports saying these Maoist elements had entered the illegalities in a big way.
Insurgent groups like the NSCN(IM) and the NSCN(K) recently entered into the business (of coal) along with ULFA and they are now penetrating deeply into Tinsukia. Various intelligence inputs say that many anti-social elements and vested interests from Tinsukia are hand-in-glove with these groups, said a report sent by Tinsukia district magistrate to the Assam government a couple of weeks ago.
It was only in February that several trucks belonging to businessmen from Tinsukia were burnt inside Arunachal Pradesh by certain NSCN(IM) elements. Both factions of NSCN have sizeable presence in Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal,with security forces working round the clock to dominate the area.
District Magistrate S S Meenakshi Sundaram also quoted intelligence reports to inform the state government that Leftist insurgent groups Maoist elements had entered the illegalities of coal trade in a big way. There are also reports of drug syndicates being formed with such funds generated on a daily basis that together become a deadly cocktail. In fact,a spurt of opium production,storage,trafficking,sales and consumption have been also noticed in Tinsukia district, he said in his report.
Confirming this,Assam DGP Jayanta Narayan Choudhury said security has been beefed up to stop the rebel groups from joining the coal business. We have received reports and the SP of Tinsukia has been instructed to take appropriate action, Choudhury told The Indian Express. In Tinsukia,the district magistrate has also sought help of the Assam Rifles to assist on the matter of national interest.
Given this scenario,the Tinsukia District Magistrate last week restricted entry of coal-laden trucks from Arunachal Pradesh only between 7 am and 4 pm,while Coal India Ltd has been asked to look into the matter seriously and hire the CISF to strengthen security in its coalfields. Sundaram has also directed the setting up a composite gate on the national highway on the inter-state border to check trucks carrying illegally procured coal.