Silica in Assams forest

Company begins operations, without clearances, in an elephant corridor

A PUBLIC mineral exploration company is setting up office to explore silica in the Swang reserve forest in Assam. Over 800 elephants use the area as a corridor. The company had done a preliminary survey on the forestland three years back and found the area suitable to mine. The company has started making a road, set up a base office that is negotiating rates with labourers and collecting machinery for the work. But the company has not taken any clearances.
Forest department officials said silica exploration in a reserve forest is under the purview of the Forest Conservation Act 1980, and therefore permission must be obtained from the Centre.