Shillong, Aug 31 (IANS): Three coal miners have died after inhaling toxic gas (sulpur dioxide) in a coal pit in Meghalaya's South Garo Hills, according to an environmentalist.
"We have confirmed that three miners died due to evaporation of sulpur dioxide gas inside a coal pit in Garugittim," Kamal Medhi of Samrakshan Trust told IANS.
Garugittim is located near the Balpakram National Park, which also covers the Siju Bird Sanctuary.
Though the tragedy occured on August 24, Medhi said the incident came to light only on Sunday after two miners came out alive from the 100-feet pit and told the villagers about the tragedy.
"The bodies of the three miners are still lying inside the pit," Medhi said.
Coal mine accidents are common in the mountainous state because of unscientific mining commonly known 'rat hole mining'.
Due to unscientific coal mining, the water sources of many of rivers, especially in Jaintia Hills district, have turned acidic.