Rajya Sabha MP and State NPP president Wanwei Roy Kharlukhi today said that the ban on rat hole coal mining in the State was unjustified. He even said that coal mining was a “fundamental right”.
Disagreeing with the coal mining ban, Kharlukhi who hails from Jaintia Hills said that he has grown up seeing how with the coming of coal mining the economy and also the livelihood of the poor people has been improved.
“I have always been in support of coal mining. Throughout, I’ve been saying that coal for the people of Jaintia Hills is our livelihood. It is enshrined as a fundamental right and denying coal mining for my people, from my district, which we have been practising for nearly four decades is like denying food for our people,” Kharlukhi said.
Stating that people in Jaintia Hills have been practicing coal mining for nearly 40 years, he asked, “So how all of a sudden such a ban was imposed.”
Kharlukhi said that many people have been badly affected due to the ban on illegal coal mining.
When pointed out that illegal coal mining or rat hole mining comes with the price of people losing their lives in rat hole mines, Kharlukhi claimed that rat hole mining only began after the ban by NGT.
He recalled an incident that residents of the village had to host people from various districts for a church congregation but they did not have money to host hence they had to resort to rat hole mining.