Shillong: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Meghalaya government to provide compensation packages to the victims or those injured in coal mine mishaps over the years.
The NGT also directed the state government to provide compensation of Rs 1 lakh each to next kin of those killed in the recent coal mine tragedy in East Jaintia Hills.
In a meeting held on Thursday, the NGT committee, headed by former high court judge BP Kakoti, asked the state government to expedite the process and start distributing the compensation packages.
In light of the latest instance of the missing cases of 17 miners in the East Jaintia Hills coal mine, the NGT committee told the state government that compensation of Rs 1 lakh each should be provided to the next of kin of the victims.
Meanwhile, commenting on the issue, chief minister Conrad K Sangma said, “The issue can be addressed once there is confirmation of the number of death.”
Kakoti suggested that there is a need to provide compensation to the families of those victims who are yet to get justice for many years. “Surprisingly there was no official data with the government regarding the number of deaths and injuries during the mining activities in Meghalaya,” Kakoty added.
Responding to the NGT direction, the state government sources feel that there will be a heap of applications if there is ever such a move to provide compensation.
Kakoty reiterated that there will be and there is a need to screen all applications. He also informed that there were 98 cases of illegal coal mining activities detected since 2014 as per the government reports.
The state government also informed the NGT commission that over 2,900 trucks were seized for illegal transportation of coal and over 1,000 cases were registered in this regard.
During the meeting, Kakoty also emphasised on the need to create awareness programmes for mine owners and workers for safe and environment-friendly mining practices.