Armed Forces Must be Deployed to Stop Illegal Mining in Meghalaya, Says Court

The Meghalaya high court, while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL), has said that the central industrial security force (CISF) or the central reserve police force (CRPF) must be deployed in the state to take over policing of illegal coal mining activities.
Meghalaya High Court
Meghalaya High Court

The Meghalaya High Court has stated that it has become necessary to deploy central armed forces in the state to stop illegal coal mining and transportation.

The Meghalaya high court, while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL), has said that the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) or the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) must be deployed in the state to take over policing of illegal coal mining activities.

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.”

Stating that lack of education and lack of alternative opportunities may have driven many in the state to exploit primary resources, the Bench observed that coal and limestone, which are found in abundance, have been exploited in an unscientific manner.

The Meghalaya high court said that large-scale unscientific mining of coal in the state may lead to disastrous consequences.

“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.

Taking cognizance of reports of death of mine workers in East Jaintia Hills in the recent past, the Chief Secretary was asked to submit a report on the same.

Justice Katakey in his interim report revealed that an FIR was lodged at Ladrymbai Outpost of the Khliehriat police station and a case was registered last month.

The interim report filed by Justice Katakey referred to several cases having been registered pertaining to illegal extraction of coal in the recent months, the court stated, adding that 31 cases have been registered in December 2022 and January 2023.

Meghalaya High Court
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