SHILLONG, June 29 - A whopping 24,392 rat-hole coal mines were operating unscientifically in the Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya resulting in most rivers and streams turning acidic.
This information was provided by the National Green Tribunal constituted Committee here on Friday which said the North Eastern Space Application Centre (NESAC) has given an insight into the number of mines.
NESAC gave a presentation before the three member NGT Committee which is headed by retired Justice BP Kakoti. The Committee expressed concern stating that water bodies have turned acidic due to unregulated and unscientific mining in Jaintia Hills.
Kakoti said the NESAC is mapping the coal mines in East Jaintia Hills and they would submit a final report shortly. The committee has identified the drainage near the coal mines. �Some of the coal mines may be abandoned�and water is flowing from these coal pits as these are not closed yet,� he said.
Kakoti said that the Ph level in the water in the rivers and streams in East Jaintia Hills is around three which is unfit for human consumption. The Ph level of neutral water safe for drinking is around 7.
The Committee further said there are reports of transportation of coal taking place despite a Supreme Court ban from May 31. �We will direct the State Government to submit a report in this regard in the next meeting,� Kakoti said. The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled to be held here on July 22 and 23.