OUR STAFF CORRESPONDENT
SHILLONG, April 6: The tiol Green Tribul (NGT) ban on unscientific ‘rat hole’ coal mining in the state has a different blessing altogether, at least in West Khasi Hills and South West Khasi Hills districts.
The men folks, who have long tread the deep black dungeons for higher wages in the rich coal belts are back to the agricultural fields. Some of them tilting their old agricultural fields and there are others who are looking out for labour in private owned agricultural land.
“Yes we are back to agriculture to sustain our family,” stated a group of people armed with agricultural equipments during an interaction with The Sentinel in South West Khasi Hills while pointing at the NGT ban on coal mining as one prime reason to take back the hoe.
They were pensive in describing the sudden NGT ban on coal mining that has severely affected their livelihood. But they never regretted in their journey back to the agriculture. “We may not earned the amount that we earned in the coal fields but we simply wish that agriculture harvest and wages that we earn should commensurate our labour,” said one of the elderly lot identified as Will Sitang.
In fact, the now jobless coal miners who have again taken up agriculture are also scouting fields of people ahead of this year paddy season. They scouted field belongs to private individuals who were even forced to abandon cultivation due to lack of agricultural labourers in the past.
Some of the families owning cultivable lands in South West Khasi Hills said, “We are happy to see another fresh hope of life to the abandon fields”, adding, “ If only the right intervention of the government could sustain the forseen rejuvetion of agriculture in our district”.