" The tribunal had April 17 banned rat-hole coal mining in Meghalaya after an application was filed saying water in the Kopili river was turning acidic due to coal mining in the Jaintia Hills."
Shillong, Aug 14 - Normal life came to a standstill in Meghalaya Thursday following a dawn-to-dusk shutdown called by an insurgent outfit to protest the National Green Tribunal's ban on rat-hole coal mining in the state.

The Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), which organises hit-and-run operations from its hideout in Bangladesh, has been demanding a sovereign Khasi state.

The Khasi-Jaintia dominated areas were paralysed during the shutdown. Shops, businesses and educational institutions remained closed while there was little movement of public and private transport.

There was skeleton presence of staff at the state secretariat and central government offices, and attendance in courts was also low.

Two national highways - 40 and 44 - considered lifelines for Mizoram, Tripura and parts of Manipur and southern Assam, were also affected by the shutdown.

There were no reports of any untoward incident, Director General of Police Peter Hanaman told IANS.

The tribunal had April 17 banned rat-hole coal mining in Meghalaya after an application was filed saying water in the Kopili river was turning acidic due to coal mining in the Jaintia Hills.

Mining in Meghalaya is controlled by the indigenous people who own the land. A primitive mining method called rat hole entails clearing ground vegetation and digging pits. Workers and children go deep into these holes to extract coal using pickaxes and shovels.


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