Meghalaya high court: Central forces must be deployed to stop illegal coal mining

Guwahati: The Meghalaya High Court declared that it was necessary to send in the federal armed troops in order to halt illegitimate coal mining and transportation.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) or the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) shall be deployed in the state to take over the enforcement of illicit coal mining activities, the Meghalaya High Court ruled during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL).

A division bench headed by Meghalaya high court chief justice Sanjib Banerjee said, “The measures adopted by the State have fallen woefully short, it is necessary to call in the central armed police forces to monitor and stop the illegal activities pertaining to coal mining that continues in the state.”

The Bench noted that coal and limestone, both of which are abundant in the state, have been used in an unscientific way. It was stated that lack of education and a lack of alternative options may have led many people in the state to exploit fundamental resources.

According to the Meghalaya High Court, the state’s large-scale, illogical coal mining could have disastrous results.

“Without intending to sound apocalyptic or seeking to toll the knell of an imminent doomsday, it takes no rocket science to realise that the recipe is ripe for disaster. The pot is on the boil and it is brewing a calamitous broth. Yet the lure of a quick buck prompts the sentinel to look the other way,” the high court observed.

The Chief Secretary was requested to produce a report in response to recent reports of mining workers dying in East Jaintia Hills.

An FIR was filed at the Khliehriat police station’s Ladrymbai Outpost, and a case was opened last month, according to Justice Katakey’s interim report.

The court noted that 31 instances were registered in December 2022 and January 2023, adding that the interim report submitted by Justice Katakey mentioned various cases that had been reported recently regarding the illicit extraction of coal.

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