Meghalaya govt slapped with Rs 100 crore by NGT

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Meghalaya has been imposed a fine of whopping Rs 100 crore by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday after the state government failed to curb illegal coal mining in the state.

A senior advocate, Raj Panjwani who is assisting the tribunal as an amicus curiae in the mining matter, said a report of a high-level committee was submitted on January 2 before a bench headed by NGT chairperson A K Goel.

“The report indicates that the April 2014 order has been blatantly violated. The Acid Mine Discharge (AMD) has been continuing and consequently water bodies, including rivers and lakes, have been polluted to an extent that it [the water] is not suitable for human consumption. The compensation has been levied based on the environmental loss owing to this,” said advocate Panjwani, the amicus to the matter.

The lawyer said during the hearing, the state government admitted that a large number of mines were operating illegally.

At least 15 miners are trapped in the 370 foot-deep illegal coal mine in Lumthari village of East Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya since December 13 and all efforts to pump the water out of flooded mine have been in vain.

The owner of the illegal rat-hole mine Krip Chullet was arrested on the evening of December 14.

The state government has spent roughly over Rs 50 lakh for hiring various utilities to rescue the trapped miners.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court had expressed strong dissatisfaction over the rescue efforts to trace the miners and had asked the state government to bring them out dead or alive.

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