Rat – Hole Mining in Meghalaya -1

Dr Sonam Dixit
Kolkata.28th Dec.
15 miners trapped in a “Rat – Hole”, mine in Meghalaya since December 13. Die – hard attempts to rescue of 15 miners trapped since December 13 in a flooded “rat-hole” mine in Meghalaya have become motionless because of the lack of equipment, essentially the pumps of ten 100 –horsepower is needed to drain out water that keeps flooding the mine in the East Jaintia Hill. But the pumps are not available with the Meghalaya government. In recent update the heavy transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force carrying seven high-power pumps arrived at the Assam’s Guwahati airport, from where they high-pressure pumps will be carried transferred on road to Lumthari village in Meghalaya, where 15 labourers trapped in a flooded rat-hole coal mine.

The Rat Hole Mining is the lethal lively hood for the community and the members which are not under government, they are mainly done by tribal of north –east India. The holed they digs are parallel and horizontal to that of rat holes to mine. It is a hazardous occupational way of employment and it recently claims the life of around 15 people in Meghalaya. The miners break the rock with axes and equipment and carry out the material. Mining was banned in the state in 2014 Even after four years National Green Tribunal ordered a ban on coal mining, but illegal practice continue persistently in the state. Purportedly many children, migrants and outsiders, and illegal immigrants from Bangladesh are in this commercial fields.

Rat –hole is the roughest form of mining that is done in botched way without proper safety measures. The miners who creep into the rat holes are without safety equipment. There is an unbendable situation surfaces between State Government and The Green Tribunal is that the State government wants to make is that since coal mining in the State and is accustomed to tribal rights, the prevailing central laws will come into encounter with the present run through.

The State government wants a Presidential notification that can exempt Sixth Schedule areas in the State from the onus of central mining laws.  Where as the supporters of coal mining have against that the ban had threatened the livelihood of the tribal people, suggesting that the ban had broke their right to life. It has also   prospective for mining to elevate people out of paucity.

But the ban against mining safeguards status to the right to life the Article 21 of the Indian constitution, which guarantees the right to life over on any economic interest of the individual.

Even the court clears that It should be kept in mind that the ban is not against mining as such, but against how it has been practiced in Meghalaya that jeopardies human s life. But it is the usual way of livelihood and transaction for the tribal community.

After National Green Tribunal Ban, coal miners were aching while describing the sudden NGT ban on coal mining that has ruthlessly disturbed their livelihood. However, they preferred to work in agricultural lands where the earnings are low in compare to coal mines.

 According to Agnes Kharshiing, a well-known activist, and her colleague  Amita Sangma  verified information  during their interview that the coal mafia ’s  network  allows illegal coal mining and transportation. They run this illegal business even after NGT ban with the bondage of people in their nexus. 

A bench headed by National Green Tribunal Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar took strong objection to the illegal mining going on in the state despite “specific and complete prohibitory orders” and to the Meghalaya government’s non-compliance and inability to execute and comply with the directions of the Tribunal.

“It is indisputable that orders of the Tribunal have been violated without exception. The transportation of coal has continued without taking any environmental protection measures and without strictly complying with the guidelines framed by the committee and Meghalaya,” the bench said. “Without hesitation, we record our disapproval, for the said conduct of Meghalaya in not formulating appropriate policy and guidelines despite orders of the Tribunal, even after lapse of a period of one year. The mining in the state cannot be permitted till the time such policy and mining plan/map is prepared by the state government,” bench added.

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