A citizens’ report on the coal mining tragedy has accused the Meghalaya Government of ‘willfully’ and ‘actively colluded in helping coal miners’ to illegally extract coal and transport it.
A report in the Indian Express state that the Citizens’ Report, prepared by a group of 22 activists, that was submitted to the Supreme Court on January 7 last stated that the Meghalaya Government has done that in ‘blatant violation of both the National Green Tribunal and Supreme Court orders’.
The first part of the report, submitted to the Supreme Court in the first week of December, had named about a dozen politicians who allegedly own coal mines themselves or have relatives who are coal miners.
The report further stated that the second part of the Citizens’ Report, on ‘How and why unregulated and illegal coal mining in Meghalaya continued even after the orders of National Green Tribunal and Supreme Court of India?”, comes over three weeks after at least 15 workers were trapped inside a coal mine pit at Ksan in East Jaintia Hills district of the State since December 13 last year.
They are feared dead, even as rescue operations continue.
The Citizens’ Report further questions how, from October 8, 2014 to December 5, 2018, the government’s estimates of the quantum of coal extracted prior to the 2014 ban on fresh mining were revised upwards.
The revised estimates (of coal extracted before the 2014 ban and yet to be transported) led the NGT and SC to extend the period for legal transportation of the coal nine times — the latest deadline is January 31, 2019.