Shillong, February 4, 2019
As uncertainty looms large over the retrieving of the bodies of the 13 miners back from the coal pit in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills (EJH), the Supreme Court on February 4th, 2019 said that it seems certain that the miners are dead.
On January 28th, 2019, the Centre had informed the apex court that the body of a person, among the 15 miners trapped was retrieved on January 24th, 2019 while another body has been spotted by the Indian Navy. Giving a detailed report of the rescue operations, the Centre said on January 26, the Navy personnel spotted the second body at about 280 feet.
The Centre had earlier told the apex court that it has to believe in miracles now to see the miners alive. It may be recalled that the miners have been trapped in a 370-feet deep illegal mine in Lumthari village in East Jaintia Hills since December 13, 2018.
Ban on illegal mining
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the state police to investigate into nearly 1,200 cases of illegal quarrying across the state. The NGT had imposed a ban on illegal mining four years back.
The NGT has imposed a fine of Rs 100 crore on the state government for its failure to completely stop illegal coal mining in the state.
The Supreme Court will on February 5th, 2019 hear a PIL seeking continuation of the efforts to rescue 15 miners trapped in an illegal coal mine in East Jaintia Hills district for the past almost two months.