Govt open to probe into rat-hole mining

SHILLONG: A day after reports of rampant illegal mining despite an NGT ban hit the headlines, state counsel Ranjan Mukherjee said the Government will conduct an inquiry into the matter if it is brought before the State Government.
Speaking to The Shillong Times on Monday, Mukherjee said the State will take action against all who are involved in rat-hole mining even as he assured that the Government would make sure that the NGT orders are implemented in letter and spirit.
He said if the matter is brought to his notice, he would be given advance copy which he would pass on to the State Government so that an in-depth inquiry is made into the reports and anyone found wanting would be brought to book.
The report said despite stringent orders from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) against rat-hole mining in Meghalaya, there is rampant mining, especially in areas falling under Elaka Nongkhlieh and Elaka Sutnga, in East Jaintia Hills.
The CSWO and media persons, while going towards the villages falling under Sutnga and Nongkhlieh Elaka, near Saipung village on January 14, noticed rat-hole mines in villages of Khaidong and Moolasngi under Nongkhlieh Elaka.
Those who carry out illegal mining are putting at risk thousands of lives which would be affected if the caves collapse as rat-hole mining is done below the caves.
There were many coal mines where machines with generators are used to extract coal and also to take the miners 400-500 ft down depending on the availability of coal.  The series of NGT orders only allowed transportation of already extracted coal in 2014 and not coal from fresh mining.

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