Updated: December 14, 2018 12:16:44 pm
A search operation is underway to rescue at least 13 workers trapped and feared dead due to flooding in an illegal coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district on Thursday. Water is being pumped out and efforts are on to identify the mine workers.
The incident was reported to the district authorities Thursday morning. Superintendent of police, Sylvester Nongtynger, told The Indian Express, “NDRF and SDRF teams have started work. We have registered a case against the owner of the mine. It was a deep mine.” Although the senior officer did not comment on the probable condition of the men trapped, as per sources, the workers were feared dead since water has filled the mine.
In 2014, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had banned rat-hole coal mining— a widely practised mining technique in Meghalaya.
In November, Agnes Kharshiing, an activist vocal against the counting of mining in Meghalaya despite the NGT order, and her colleague Amita Sangma were attacked while they were trying to locate an illegal mine.
Meghalaya is said to have 640 million tonnes of coal reserve.
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