SHILLONG, Oct 20 � The presence of illegal Bangladeshi migrants in the coal mines of Jaintia Hills was further confirmed after the Border Security Force (BSF) on Friday apprehended 32 illegal migrants from the neighbouring country at Kuliang and Umkiang on the international border.
The nabbed Bangladeshi nationals were working in the coal mines near Khliehriet, East Jaintia Hills district and after the season�s end they were returning home in Bangladesh.
The migrants were apprehended near Border Outposts at Kuliang and Umkiang by BSF on Friday. The BSF troops confiscated sixteen mobile phones, with Indian and Bangladeshi SIMs, garments and Indian currency worth Rs 3.69 lakh from the migrants.
During preliminary investigation, it has been found that the Bangladeshi nationals were brought in by a Bangladeshi tout, Zainal from Sylhet district of the neighbouring country. The BSF troops confiscated Rs 36, 000 from Zainal alone.
The unorganised coal mines of Jaintia Hills hires labour from across the country. There are some reports of child labour from India, Nepal and Bangladesh being employed in these dangerous rat-hole coal mines.
Each labour gets paid on hourly basis or the number of coal filled trays they are able to scrap. Typically, in a day an experienced miner get about Rs 300-Rs 500, which is a substantial amount considering the economic background of most these labourers.
Apart from the presence of illegal migrants, anti-socials also prowl these mining areas and trafficking of girl child is also frequent. However, due to lack of proper monitoring mechanism of these coal mines, largely because they are privately owned by the local population, the miners have their way out bypassing labour and other laws.
Meanwhile, the BSF said that in this month, 48 illegal migrants have been apprehended in Meghalaya�s border with Bangladesh, having a total length of 443-km. Huge stretch of this border remains unfenced and therefore vulnerable to infiltration, largely due to opposition from the locals, who want the fence to be erected on the zero line.
Apart from the migrants, the BSF has also confiscated rustlers and smugglers.