Mine mishaps and militancy take toll on labourers

Miners in Jaintia Hills have been subjected to extreme working conditions sans any safety measures.

SHILLONG: 2013 was certainly not a good year for the labourers of the state as they became soft targets of militants and miscreants while many lost their lives working in the deadly coal pits of Jaintia Hills. .
In the month of May, the first major  coal mine incident took place in South Garo Hills  when three coal miners were killed as the cables of the crane that were used to lift the earth from the mine reportedly snapped plunging the heavy machinery back into the mine shaft and crushing to death the miners. The new mine, which was  operated by one CD Sherpa, was in the process of been deepened to reach the to a further depth where the mineral could be extracted, when the incident occurred.
In the same month five innocent and unarmed coal labourers were reportedly shot dead by armed militants in retaliation for the quarry owner’s failure to pay up on time in Nangalbibra region of South Garo Hills.
The plight of labourers continued when eight labourers were killed in cold blood inside their coal quarries in Nangalbibra region by a gang of miscreant. The workers were attacked with daos, daggers, knives, clubs and lathis. The dacoits also looted around eighty thousand rupees from one of the quarries.
Though labourers continued to be attacked and also lost their livesdue to mine accidents, a major incident happened recently when five miners were  crushed to death when the cables of a crane being used to lower them into a coal pit snapped midway hurling them down the pit in East Jaintia Hills district. The incident occurred on Friday (Dec 27) in the coal mine owned by one Nangtre Dkhar of Latyrke village at Briwar, about 80 km from Shillong. All five died on the spot.