One person died and another was injured after the coal mine they were working in collapsed today morning. The mine owner has been arrested by police.
The incident occurred at Urak (Riangdim), an area under Shallang police station.
According to police, today morning two men, identified as Lependro Sangma (34) and Hendit Momin (33), had travelled to the mine on the instruction of the mine owner, Hubath R Sangma.
The two labourers entered the mine but it caved in on them and Lependro was killed immediately, while Hendit sustained serious injuries. Police said that they were informed by sources of the incident but it was also learnt that Kharkutta MDC Cherak Momin had also informed the authorities about the incident as the miners were from his constituency.
Lependro’s body was taken to Shallang Primary Health Centre for an autopsy, while Hendit received treatment for his injuries at the same centre.
The location of the mine is very remote, police said. It reportedly takes two hours of trekking through the jungle just to reach it. The distance from Shallang police station to Urak is around 25km.
Police filed a case under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act on suspicion that the mine was operating illegally.
Hubath was identified by police following their investigations and was arrested and forwarded to judicial custody following an “intense interrogation”.
Between 7 to 8 tonnes of coal, two thelas used to ferry coal from the quarry to the depot and some implements were seized from the spot.
“West Khasi Hills police are conducting periodic raids on any form of illegal transportation and extraction of coal and will go all out to check this illegality.” police said.