| Troubled ground |
New Delhi, Sept. 12 (PTI): The National Green Tribunal today directed the Meghalaya government to furnish the reports of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the FIR registered regarding a July 2012 mining accident that allegedly killed 15 miners.
A bench headed by tribunal chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar called for the complete records and files after the NDRF said it found no bodies and the state contended that no one was hurt or killed in the incident in Garo hills as the whole issue was based on hearsay. “How can it be that no one was injured or died when there was an accident?” the bench asked. It asked the NDRF, “Did you conduct a search? Dead bodies cannot walk away.”
During the hearing, the state government contended that the FIR was registered on the basis of hearsay as well as the statement of three alleged mine workers.
The government also contended that no one, including the family of the allegedly trapped miners, came forward.
Dissatisfied with the responses, the bench said, “Bring all the documents else we will call your chief secretary. Bring the complete file of the FIR registered in relation to the incident and complete reports of the NDRF positively before the next date of hearing. List it on September 26.”
The bench also observed that the state government probably “threw away” the statements of the three miners who had said that 15 workers were trapped inside the coal mine near the Nangalbibra area in South Garo Hills district of Meghalaya.
“Who will go against you (state). You are so powerful,” the bench said, adding that “FIR for offence of negligence under the IPC was registered and you say it is hearsay”.
The bench, meanwhile, directed the mine owner to “produce on record as to what was the mine’s per day production, which is stated to be 15 tonnes or more, as well as number of persons deployed, which is stated to be 35.”
The tribunal was hearing a petition, which contends that there is a threat to life because of coal mining activity in South Garo Hills.