Mining Policy fails to prevent river pollution in Jaintia Hills

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: Despite the introduction of the State Mining Policy, unscientific mining of coal and limestone continue to pollute Lukha river in Jaintia Hills.

The colour of the water continues to remain blue during the entire course of the winter season due to rampant pollution.

An official of the State Pollution Control Board said that the Board had in the past suggested remedial measures, both short term and long term, to address the issue of the river water turning blue.

The Board had prepared scientific reports which blamed the large-scale mining of coal for pollution of the Lukha and other rivers in Jaintia Hills.

The rivers are polluted due to the discharge of untreated acid mine drainage, said the report.

As per the findings of the Board, there is a need to seal the abandoned mines in Jaintia Hills in addition to treating water at the already existing mines.

A clause in the Mining Policy stipulates filling up of abandoned mines, but there is hardly any implementation on the ground level.

The water from the coal mines which flows to the rivers thereby polluting them can be treated if water is allowed to pass through a lime bed, according to the Board report.

The cost of creating the lime bed will come to around Rs 10,000 and if the coal mine owners can create the lime beds, the river pollution can be prevented to a certain extent.

Besides the unscientific coal mining, wastes from the cement plants dumped into the rivers also cause river pollution in Jaintia Hills.

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