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Nagaland coal mine tragedy: NPF MLA Achumbemo Kikon blames rampant illegal mining for incident

First Published: 26th January, 2024 10:16 IST

The NPF MLA said this after 6 miners lost their lives, while 4 others suffered grievous injuries while working inside a rat hole mine at the Risayan village yesterday

In a significant statement, Nagaland NPF MLA Achumbemo Kikon today said that rampant illegal coal mining is happening in his constituency- Bhandari, a fallout of which was seen yesterday after 6 miners lost their lives, while 4 others suffered grievous injuries while working inside a rat hole mine at the Risayan village.

Expressing concern over the prevalence of illegal rat hole mining in his constituency, Kikon has called for a more proactive role of the government in stopping such activities. According to Kikon, disasters will continue to happen unless the government implements some corrective measures.

Speaking exclusive to Northeast Live, after the disaster, Kikon said, “the mining was a rat hole coal mining and all these coal mining has been happening rampantly especially in my constituency under the Bhandari AC. I have been raising this concern with the govt and the public as a whole about the dangers of these kind of incidents. And this incident is not the first of its kind, incidents like these have happened in the past. We have been bringing these to the notice of the authorities especially the Geology and Mining department, but there has to be a proper regulation as far as coal mining is concerned. These are actually all illegal mining. Unless the govt rectifies the system, it will bring more disaster again.”

Besides, the NPF MLA also believes that if the government allows scientific mining than such tragic incidents will cease to happen. He also called for implementation of more stringent regulations in terms of allotting permits for mining.

Kikon stated, “Therefore we have to create more awareness and the govt has to take certain steps in allotting the permit. Or else these kind of incidents will keep occuring.

Proper guidelines have to be issued and there has to be a scientific way of mining not in this way. Mining in this way (illegal rat hole mining) is creating environmental hazards. It is creating a lot of problem. In the near future the whole system will collapse.”

At the same time, the NPF MLA also advocated that the government must take care of people whose livelihoods are based on such illegal mining. In support of his idea, Kikon said, “I understand the intricacies of the land holding system of the Nagas, govt does not own land of course. But when the land belongs to individuals, to the family, to the villagers and so forth. There are lot of intricacies involved, I understand that. However, since these things are controlled by the department and the govt, there has to be a stringent regulation if we are to allow coal mining because unless the streamlining is done as I stated, it is going to create lot of environmental hazards. At the same time survival of the villagers also has to be taken care of by the govt, because some villagers out of no option, they sell all these precious deposits like coal and some other deposits under the ground. So the govt has to come out with certain measures and alternative measures to help understand and for survival of the villagers selling the coal deposits.”

The menace of illegal coal mining in Nagaland which has been exposed by NPF MLA Achumbemo Kikon just seems to be the tip of the iceberg. Hopefully, if proper probe is done more such cases of illegal mining in the state is likely to surface.

Now, it remains to be seen as to what steps the Nagaland Government takes up to stop illegal coal mining.

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