- The Supreme Court has questioned the need to continue with the rescue operations for trapped miners in a rathole mine in Meghalaya.
- A coal mine in Meghalaya East Jaintia Hills had collapsed which threw light on a dangerous procedure known as “rat-hole mining”.
- Rat hole mining involves digging of very small tunnels, usually only 3-4 feet high, which workers enter and extract coal.The rat-hole mining is broadly of two types – (a) side-cutting where narrow tunnels are dug on the hill slopes and workers go inside until they find the coal seam (b)box-cutting type where a rectangular opening is made.Through this, a vertical pit is dug.Once the coal seam is found,rat-hole-sized tunnels are dug horizontally through which workers can extract the coal.
- The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has banned rat-hole mining in 2014, and retained the ban in 2015.The ban was on grounds of the practice being unscientific and unsafe for workers.
- But the orders of the Tribunal has been violated and the State Government has failed to check illegal mining effectively.
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