Banned 10 years ago, 26,000 rat-hole coal mines not closed yet: Meghalaya HC panel (Deccan Herald – May 8, 2024)

Shillong: Not one of the 26,000 abandoned rat-hole coal mines in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district has so far been closed despite an order, posing risk of loss of human lives as well as livestock, the Meghalaya High Court was informed.

The rat-hole mining and transportation of coal in the Himalayan state were banned 10 years ago by the National Green Tribunal. Over 14 lakh metric tons of already mined coal is left to be transported, a one-man committee formed by the high court to monitor the mining and transportation of coal said in its 22nd interim report on Tuesday.

“Not a single abandoned mine so far has been closed as the process of closure is still in the initial stage, i.e. the preparation of Detail Project Report (DPR) by the Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Limited (CMPDI).”

“It is on record that in East Jaintia Hills District alone, there are about 26,000 rat-hole mine openings which need to be closed down because of the ban on the rat-hole coal mining, to avoid the risk of loss of human lives as well as of that of livestock”, the report read.

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