The death of six miners has once again raised the question of rampant illegal mining of coal mining in the state.
The opposition Congress on Friday slammed the ruling MDA Government and said, “This kind of situation was anticipated as because illegal mining was going since the time of NPP led MDA Government led by Conrad Sangma came to power in the State.”
At least six labourers from Assam were killed in a coal mining-related accident in East Jaintia Hills District on Thursday.
Stating that human life is more precious than anything else, Congress spokesperson Zenith M Sangma said, “….due to insensitivity and negligence of the irresponsible leadership in the MDA Government we are losing precious lives. “
Calling it a Cognizable Offence, the Congress spokesperson said, “This Government under the leadership of Conrad Sangma has been indulging in illegal mining of coal and illegal transportation of illegally mined coal and other minerals across the state.”
He also alleged that despite being brought to the notice of the Government, the Chief Minister continued to deny it.
“…But still, the Chief Minister is repeatedly denying inspite of the fact that these issues have been brought to the notice of the government time and again and rather repeatedly asking for the proof. Now the question is whether the CM is not bothering or he really does not know what the Cognizable Offence is all about?” the Congress leader said.
“Just to fulfill the greed of few we are losing the precious lives and lots of revenue, which the present government should put it to an end as it is they are not going to be forgiven,” he added.
“If somebody raises their voice, they are suppressed or intimidated or targeted or attacked. This is the state of affairs under this present government,” Sangma said.
It may be mentioned that in November 2018, Meghalaya rights activist Agnes Kharshiing suffered injuries after she was allegedly attacked by a group of people suspected to be belonging to the coal mining mafia in the East Jaintia Hills district.
The activist and her companion had reportedly gone to capture photographs of illegal coal mining in the district and were stopped on their way back, a senior police officer said.
We spoke to Agnes Kharshiing and she shared her view, “It shows they are doing illegal mining very much with full protection. According to me these all are new coal, which means fresh mining is going on and the trucks are going either Umkiang or to Ribhoi to Assam so most of these people who are into this coal mining increasing their business,” Kharshiing said.
“Now in technology when you have drones why don’t they put up drones immediately now to find the illegal minds,” she added.
Stating that poverty forces the people to take up jobs in illegal coal mines and risking their lives, the RTI activist said, “Lives of people taken away and they explode the poor because they need work so they offer jobs in coal activities even children are pushed into that due to poverty.”