Alleged  illegal mining

Staff Correspondent

SHILLONG, Jan 28: An East Jaintia Hills district-based organisation today demanded arrest of the brother of a Meghalaya Cabinet minister for alleged involvement in illegal mining. It also held the minister’s brother indirectly responsible for the death of six coal miners in a recent mishap in the district.

The East Jaintia Hills National Council (EJNC) has alleged that the mine where the mishap occurred, belongs to Bison Shylla, brother of State Excise Minister Kyrmen Shylla, and one Lal Bareh.

Accusing the NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) of inaction, EJNC president Sambormi Lyngdoh alleged that the case has not made any progress as the coal mine owners have political backing.

Minister Shylla belongs to the United Democratic Party, which is part of the ruling MDA. He represents the Khliehriat constituency in East Jaintia Hills district.

Lambasting Home Minister Lakhmen Rymbui for alleged inaction, the EJNC president warned that it would be compelled to file an FIR against the coal mine owners for carrying out mining illegally.

It may be mentioned here that the six miners died in the mishap on January 21. Five of them hailed from Assam. The body of the sixth miner has not been identified as yet.

According to Lyngdoh, the victims’ families had claimed that they had been working for Bison Shylla and his friend, Tiewly Shadap.

Asking the MDA Government if it was trying to shield Shylla and others, Lyngdoh said that when the Ksan coal mining mishap took place in 2018, the coal mine owner was immediately arrested. Several miners had perished when the walls of the mine collapsed and waters from the nearby Lytein river came gushing in, at Ksan.

It is claimed that at least 17 miners had died in the mishap, one of the worst in Meghalaya’s mining history. The area where it occurred, also lies within East Jaintia Hills district.