Shillong: A Magisterial Inquiry has been constituted into the Lumthari coal mine collapse In East Jaintia Hills, even as the rescue teams are making all out efforts to retrieved the bodies of the 13 miners who are feared dead.
The Deputy Commissioner of East Jaintia Hills, F.M Dopth told Sentinel that the rescue team comprising of the NDRF,SDRF,Civil defence and the Police are making all out efforts to recover the bodies of those who were trapped inside the coal pit. Going by the people involved in the rescue operations, the problems lies in pumping out the water that has breached the mining hole. “ constant pumping out of the water and a team of scuba divers to aid the rescue operations is on”, they stated. Till filing of this report, not a single body has been retrieved.
However, an apparent clue that illegal and unscientific coal mining still continues in spite of the NGT ban has sent the District administration into tizzy. The Deputy Commissioner of the District on Friday ordered a magisterial inquiry to be headed by the additional Deputy Commissioner Bantei J Kharchandi and he was given 15 days time to complete it, informed a source from the Deputy Commissioner office.
The Government which has been living in denial about the ongoing illegal mining in the coal belts suddenly acknowledged the fact. In a whats up message, the Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma stated, “we are aware that illegal activities were going on. This is something which is not correct at all. Appropriate action will be taken at appropriate time against people who are involved in illegal coal mining. This is something that is not acceptable to us.”
The Chief Minister stated that he is in constant touch with the DC,SP with prayers and hope that miners are alive.
East Jaintia Hills has had its own saga of illegal coal mining that even led to the brutal assault on a prominent activist Agnes Kharshiing and her aid Amita Sangma just over a month ago. One of the kingpin, a coal baron and NPP senior functionary Nidamon Chullet has been absconding. He is being wanted by the police for interrogation but he continued to evade. This time the suspected coal mine owner has been identified as James Sukhlain of Lumthari and he is absconding. Sukhlain will be booked as per law under 188/304A/34 IPC R/w. Sec. 3(2)(d) PDPP Act & Sec. 21(1) MM(R&D) Act.