Illegal coal mining surfaces in West Garo Hills


TURA: Greed for the black gold  and making a quick buck through illegal coal mining that has plagued the South and East Garo Hills region is now beginning to impact even the West Garo Hills district where unscrupulous miners are extracting the mineral.

Following reports about illegal mining pits being opened in forested areas of Selsella constituency of the district, police began launching search operations a few days ago to uncover the mining trail.

Their search led to the discovery of a coal dump in a jungle at Rongramgre village of Selsella where locals had been actively mining the mineral for sale to neighbouring Assam and to the brick kilns which require the coal to burn.

It was found that the extraction had caused extensive damage to the soil and forest in the area.

“A team headed by our circle inspector of Tura conducted random checks and area domination drives during which an illegal coal extraction site was detected in the remote areas of Rongramgre. We have seized the illegal coal and arrested the people involved,” informed West Garo Hills superintendent of police MGR Kumar.

The nine illegal miners from the area have been forwarded to court and the case handed over to the state forest and mining departments.

The nine arrested men are Mincheng D Sangma,Tengsim Marak, Hadine K Sangma, Nolsing Sangma, Reseng Marak, Anal Sangma, Jiten Marak, Mijon Marak and Walkam D Sangma.

In the last couple of weeks, reports have been surfacing about illegal mining being done not just in rongramgre but Kalchengpara area of Selsella also, prompting district administration to clamp down hard.

This is not the first case of illegal mining being reported in the district. Last year, several illegal mine pits were found and sealed in the Babadam area of Rongram by magistrates and police.

It is worth mentioning that although the quality of the coal extracted is of poor quality, yet, illegal miners continue to excavate the mineral as they find easy buyers from those operating dozens of brick kilns in the region.

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