Top officials’ visit to Nengchigen confirms rat-hole coal mining

Shallang police seize freshly-extracted coal

BAGHMARA, Feb 27: Two high-level fact-finding teams, one deputed by the State Chief Secretary and the other by the Director-General of Police, have confirmed what was known all along – the illegal rat-hole mining of coal at Nengchigen village in West Khasi Hills.
The two teams visited the village following the directions of the High Court of Meghalaya, which took suo motu cognizance of a report in The Shillong Times on illegal rat-hole mining being undertaken by unscrupulous individuals at Nengchigen and directed the Chief Secretary and the DGP to make spot inspections and submit their reports by March 2.
South Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner, FM Dopth visited the village on February 24, a day after the High Court order, and checked through at least four of the rat-hole mines that were being run by at least seven individuals named in the FIR by Kristina G Marak, the Nokma of Nengchigen.
Residents of the village told The Shillong Times that the DC even entered a few of the rat-hole mines.
Curiously, instructions were given to the residents to stay away from the inspection site. They were also asked not to take any photos or videos of the inspection, leading to a blackout of the visit by the deputy commissioner.
On Saturday, Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Mukesh Singh paid a visit to the village to verify the facts and claims. He was accompanied by West Khasi Hills Superintendent of Police HG Lyngdoh as well as the SDPO of Riangdo.
For a second time, villagers were instructed not to take videos or photos of their visit though some photos still surfaced.
The police team will file a report on their visit to the DGP but declined to disclose any details of their visit, stating that the matter was sub-judice.
While neither of the teams spoke on their findings at Nengchigen, a related development confirms the assertion of the villagers and the report published in The Shillong Times of coal being illegally mined at the village.
The development relates to seizure of freshly extracted coal lying in various rat-hole mining sites by Shallang police under directions from the West Khasi Hills district administration.
Meanwhile, villagers from Nengchigen expressed their fear over the return of the seven miners into their villages. The FIR filed by the Nokma had alleged that Alnet Marak, Clington Marak, Pandit Momin, Toban Marak, Nazim Ali, Lipson Momin and Pangseng Sangma were terrorising them to such an extent that living in their own houses had become fraught with danger.
“We are scared that they may come back to the village and terrorise us once again. Our lives will remain in danger until those named in the FIR are arrested and tried for their illegal act. They brought guns to our village to threaten us and can do so once again. We don’t have the strength to resist them and if they return we will have to flee to protect ourselves,” Kristina Marak told The Shillong Times.
Interestingly, till the filing of this report, none of the seven accused village has been arrested or picked up for questioning.

Get real time updates directly on your device, subscribe now.

Comments are closed.