Mining activities continue as usual in East Jaintia Hills

No enforcement of Supreme Court, National Green Tribunal ban


SUTNGA/ SHILLONG: The ban imposed by both the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal on illegal coal mining and transportation has had no impact in the coal belts of East Jaintia Hills.
Despite repeated instructions and orders, there is no end to the illegal mining and transportation of coal.
During a visit to the coal mining areas on Thursday, heaps of freshly mined coal were seen on both sides of the road from Sutnga to other adjoining areas.
After the ban on coal mining was imposed by NGT in April 2014, there was another instruction not to dump the coal in the open as it affects the environment.
The stretches where coal was seen dumped and ready for transportation include Rymbai, Moopala, Latyrke, Dkhiah and several areas on the outskirts of Khliehriat.
The modus operandi is that during the day, no activity is carried out to transport the dumped coal and the trucks are stationary. However, in the evening, labourers are active in loading coal in the trucks.
Five years into the ban on rat-hole coal mining, the state government has failed to enforce the ban fully as cases of violations are on the rise.
In an earlier order, the NGT had even asked the state government to take the help of central security forces to enforce the ban.
An official with the Mining and Geology Department admitted NGT order violations and pointed out that due to limited strength of police personnel, there is a practical difficulty to implement the ban.
The official added that the state government had sought deployment of central forces based on the NGT order but there was no response from the Centre.