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12 Feb 2019

Prabin Kalita, The Times of India

India: Supreme Court holds owner of mine responsible for Meghalaya collapse

"Supreme Court holds owner of mine responsible for Meghalaya mine mishap", 8 February 2019

The Supreme Court, on whose intervention rescue operations have been kept on, to rescue trapped miners in illegal rat hole coal mine in Meghalaya, on Friday [8 February] held the owner of the mine responsible for the mishap that happened on December 13.

Judges...also asked Meghalaya government and Coal India Ltd to give particulars of other illegal mines operating in the area. The court will hear the matter on February 22.

Fifteen miners got stuck inside the rat hole coal mine...[in the]...East Jaintia Hills [in] Meghalaya on December 13 last when the mine was suddenly flooded...by gushing water of the Lytein river nearby...

Coal mining was banned in 2014 by National Green Tribunal after a series of mine tragedies killed scores of people between 1992 and 2014...Meghalaya government had been denying the existence of illegal coal mines until this tragedy. The state implemented the mines and minerals policy in 2012 but the Act was ignored by mine owners. Successive state governments would look the otehr way becasue coal is one of the its biggest revenue earners for the state...