Following mining mishap in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills, Congress urges state govt to legalise coal mining

Shillong: The Opposition Congress in Meghalaya has urged the state government to take steps for legalising coal mining, alleging "rampant" unlawful mining activities in the region.

The demand comes following the coal mine disaster in Meghalaya in which 15 people are still trapped in a flooded illegal rat-hole mine at Lumthari village in East Jaintia Hills district since 13 December.

Representational image. News18

Representational image. News18

"Why is the state government not taking up the matter of regularising coal mining in the state with the Centre? Legalising mining and strong regulations to surround the activity is the only way out," senior Congress leader Ampareen Lyngdoh said.

Lyngdoh had on Friday led a six-member Opposition team to the accident site and made recommendations to the state government for rescue efforts.

"Fresh coal dumps are seen on both sides of the road from Khliehriat till Lumthari. This is evident of the rampant illegal mining that is still going on in the state," she alleged.

"It seems lawlessness is becoming supreme here. There were not enough forces to implement the ban either," the Congress leader said.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2014 imposed a blanket ban on mining and transportation of coal in the state for its adverse environmental effect and the absence of safety measures for the miners.

The Shillong East MLA said Meghalaya government has failed to call an all-party meeting to discuss on the need to resolve the ongoing ban. "The government should call us, as we need to fight for  legalising (coal mining) since we cannot stop it," she added.

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Updated Date: Dec 29, 2018 20:44:45 IST

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