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Himalaya

Day 93: Digboi, Assam

Tipong Mine, Nagaland and Assam 
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With the morning shift at Tipong Mine, near Digboi, Assam.
Michael Palin - HimalayaOur host, Mr Das from Coal India Ltd, won't allow us to film any of this until we have an armed police escort, and they haven't turned up yet.

We suggest doing a discreet wide shot while we're waiting but Mr Das shakes his head.

'This is a very disturbed place.'

He smiles tolerantly, like a teacher dealing with hyperactive pupils.

'It is our headache to look after you.'

He seems a decent man, around 40, a Bengali, with intense dark eyes, a thick moustache, brown bobble hat, a windcheater with 'Herod Active' written across it and an uncle who's an accountant in Guildford.

He invites us to his office. It's a low, brick building, painted pistachio green, inside and out. There is a concrete floor and a board on the wall with three columns marked 'Production Totals', 'Targets', 'Achievements'. A one-bar electric fire glows and two or three of his colleagues are introduced and sit at the table with us. Our two armed guards, thin men wrapped in headscarves, walk by outside the window.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 93: Digboi, Assam
  • Country/sea: India
  • Place: Digboi
  • Book page no: 218

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