NGT questions Meghalaya govt records on 2012 mining incident
The National Green Tribunal Monday raised doubts regarding reports and other records submitted by Meghalaya government about a 2012 mining accident there when 15 persons were allegedly trapped in a coal mine, saying the documents don`t seem to be that old.
New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal Monday raised doubts regarding reports and other records submitted by Meghalaya government about a 2012 mining accident there when 15 persons were allegedly trapped in a coal mine, saying the documents don`t seem to be that old.
"These reports do not seem to be a year and a half old. They appear to have been made recently," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said after going through some of the documents pertaining to the July 6, 2012, incident.
It also questioned the investigation the state government claimed it was conducting into the incident, saying "what investigation? If you could not find out anything then (2012), what will your investigation do now? We don`t know what to say about all this except that it speaks volumes about your work."
The bench made the remark after the state government, while admitting that such an incident had taken place, contended it can`t say how many people were trapped in the accident and a probe is on to ascertain that.
The Tribunal had on October 7 directed Meghalaya to submit the entire records of the incident, including those relating to the probe into the accident, number of workers who worked in the mine, etc and it had also sought the presence of the state government`s Principal Secretary of Mining and Geology Department.
"You come out with the truth or we will dig it out", the NGT had warned Meghalaya government after it stated that the 15 persons, who were allegedly trapped inside a coal mine in Garo Hills in the 2012 mining accident, could have escaped as no bodies were found.
Pursuant to the NGT`s order, the Principal Secretary was present before the bench with the entire records of the incident, which were taken into its custody by the Tribunal.
The state government, meanwhile, told the NGT that the mine owner "has no records of the number of people working in the coal mine".
It also said that as per a statement given by the mine owner, he had tried to cover up the matter when relatives of the miners, who were allegedly trapped in the mine, approached him for money.
The bench fixed the matter for further hearing on December 12 and directed the mine owner`s counsel to ensure his client is present on that date.
The Tribunal was hearing a petition which contends there is a threat to life due to the coal mining activity in South Garo Hills district of Meghalaya.