Owner of Meghalaya coal mine held, 5 still trapped inside

The owner of an illegal coal mine in Meghalaya’s in East Jaintia Hills district, in which five miners remain trapped for four days, has been arrested, a police officer said on Thursday. The owner, Shining Langstang, was arrested from Sutnga village near the mine.

The rat-hole mine at Umpleng, about 20 km from Khliehriat, the district headquarters of East Jaintia Hills District, was flooded after a dynamite explosion on Sunday. Hazardous rat-hole coal mining is not permitted in Meghalaya after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned it in 2014.

A deep vertical shaft is dug till coal seams are found in the rat-hole mining. Once the seams are found, coal is taken out through small holes along the horizontal line of the coal seams.

“The Sordar (mine manager) is on the run and we are trying to arrest him. In this regard, a lookout notice has been issued and his posters have been put up throughout the district,” Superintendent of Police Jagpal Singh Dhanoa told

A statement issued by Meghalaya police on May 31 had said, “The main culprit as per eye-witnesses is ‘Sordar’ (manager) of the mine who did nothing to rescue the trapped labourers and chased the survivors away”.

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