DIPHU, Nov 14 � Sainilangso, located near the Marat Longri Wildlife Sanctuary in east Karbi Anglong, has a considerable deposit of coal. The place is located 26 km from Bakalia, a small town around 60 km from here.
Villagers living on the periphery of the sanctuary informed Forest officials about a mysterious fire in the coal field a few days back. Considering the gravity of the situation, Pradip Signar, Executive Member of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, accompanied by senior Forest officers including Jognath Rongpi, DFO, West Division, Joy Sing Bey, DFO, East Division, and other local officers rushed to Sainilangso on Wednesday. After inspecting the place, the officials said that the fire in the coal deposit was not due to any natural cause, but the result of human activity.
According to them, some persons involved in coal pilferage might have set the field on fire. If left unattended to, the fire could turn into a grave natural hazard, they said.
�The coal deposit is an extension to the flat terrain of Meghalaya. Though the Department of Mines and Minerals has not permitted the scientific exploitation of the coal deposit in the area, illegal overcast mining has been going on since the last 10 years by a group of local organised criminals,� said Jognath Rongpi, DFO, West Division.
In 2012, a major fire broke out inside a rat hole dug by the illegal miners. Due to the remote location of the place, no fire fighting equipment could be sent to the place of the incident and the blaze got extinguished naturally after a few days.
Till now no valid reason has been given by the authorities concerned regarding the cause of the fire.