India: At least 16 killed, 50+ critically injured in truck crash in Meghalaya’s West Khasi Hills district – Published 26 Feb 2017 1617z (GMT/UTC)

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Meghalaya Accident (Image credit: http://viveremilano.biz)

At least 16 people were killed on Sunday when a truck they were in rammed into the concrete barricade of a road in Meghalaya’s West Khasi Hills district, police said. More than 50 people were critically injured in the accident in Jdohkroh village, 11 km from Nongstoin, the district headquarters of West Khasi Hills. Police said the speeding truck was carrying over 60 people. Although earlier police estimated that over 30 people were traveling in the truck, later it was found that many fell into the deep gorge. The exact number of people traveling is yet to be ascertained. Sylvester Nongtnger, police chief of West Khasi Hills said all the victims were going towards Nonglang village to attend the synod of Presbyterian Church. “Twelve people died on the spot and four succumbed to their injuries in hospital,” Mr Nongtnger told IANS. The dead included nine women and a 13-year-old girl. The injured, including the driver and helper of the truck, have been rushed to nearby hospitals and to the Shillong Civil Hospital, the police said. Quoting witnesses, the police officer said the accident occurred due to reckless driving. “Nonetheless, we are investigating the cause of the accident.”

RSOE February 26 2017 12:08 PM (UTC).

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#India: Bus falls into gorge, 31 killed, 27 injured in #Meghalaya – Published 08 Aug 2012 1108 GMT/UTC

Thirty-one people were killed and 27 were injured in a bus mishap in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia hills. The mishap happened when a Tripura-bound bus fell into a deep gorge.

The incident happened between 3 am and 5 am on Wednesday at the Tamseng village near the Meghalaya-Assam border.

The bus was on its way to Agartala from Guwahati when it fell into the 80-feet deep gorge. – IBN

 

SHILLONG, 7 AUG: At least 22 people were killed and several others critically injured when a Tripura-bound bus fell into a deep gorge in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia hills district in the wee hours today.

The incident took place sometime between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. at Tamseng village near Meghalaya-Aassam border. The bus was on its way to Agartala from Guwahati when it fell into the 80-feet deep gorge. “We have been able to retrieve 22 bodies even as six critically injured persons were shifted to Khliehriat community health centre”, district police chief M K Dkhar said.

“There are possibilities of more deaths and the district police and fire service personnel are on the job to rescue the trapped persons in the bus”, he said. The depth of the gorge is over 80 feet. – The Statesman

Related:

Wikipedia: Meghalaya

India: Hope runs out for Meghalaya’s trapped coal miners – Published 13 July 2012 1003 GMT/UIC

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team on Friday called off the operation to rescue 15 miners trapped in a flooded coal pit in Meghalaya since July 6, an official said.

The miners got trapped in a mine in South Garo Hills district last week on Thursday after they accidentally punctured the wall of an abandoned mine, filling their mine with gallons of water.

“The NDRF has called off their operation expressing their inability to rescue the miners as the team members could endanger themselves inside the flooded mine, which is on the verge of collapse,” Davies R. Marak, the district police chief of South Garo Hills, said.

(Photo: zoclips.blogspot.co.uk)
Meghalaya Coal Mine
(Click photo for source)

The special team, which began its rescue operation on Thursday morning, had brought all necessary equipment to pull out the men from what are called “rat-hole” mines, but to no avail.

“Scuba divers did make their attempt to enter inside the coal pit but the formation of toxic gas in the pit has forced them to come out,” Marak said.

However, district authorities would continue to pump out the water and make all efforts to rescue the trapped miners, Marak said. “I don’t think there will be any survivor and if anyone of them comes alive from the pit it will be only a miracle.”

The NDRF is a unit created by the government for specialised response to natural and manmade disasters.

Ten water pumps have been deployed to pump out the water from the mine.

Three people have been arrested by Meghalaya Police on charges of negligence – mine owner Kudon A. Sangma, Punjab-based mine operator Gurdeep Singh and the head of the labourers identified as “captain”.

Meghalaya has a total coal reserve of 640 million tonnes. The coal is high in sulphur content and is mostly of sub-bituminous type.

Most of this coal reserve is mined unscientifically by individuals and local communities. Due to unscientific coal mining, the water sources of many rivers, especially in Jaintia Hills district, have turned acidic.

Mining activities in Meghalaya are controlled by the indigenous people of the state who own the land.

The coal is extracted by primitive surface mining method called “rat-hole” mining that entails clearing ground vegetation and digging pits ranging from five to 100 sq.m. to reach the coal seams.

Workers and children go deep into these holes and extract the coal using traditional tools. Makeshift bamboo ladders take miners down into the pits to chip away through two-feet-high tunnels.

Once the coal has been extracted these mines are abandoned and left exposed in several instances in the state. In Cherrapunjee, once famous for its heaviest rainfall, environmental abuse has almost reduced the region to a barren landscape.

The region is now pockmarked by abandoned “rat hole” coal mines and barren hills. Similar is the case in other districts of Meghalaya.

The high-sulphur, sub-bituminous coal is used primarily for power generation and as a source fuel in cement plants in India and Bangladesh – The Times of India

A recent study reveals that coal mines in Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya employed 70,000 child miners who were abducted from Nepal and Bangladesh and sold to Meghalaya’s mining mafia. These children are forced to work into deep pits exposing them to fatal health hazards.

(Photo: southasia.oneworld.net)
CHILD Worker at Meghalaya
(Click photo for source)

 

Children brought from Nepal and Bangladesh form part of the workforce in unscientific, ecology-threatening coal mines of Meghalaya, a study by a Shillong-based NGO revealed on Thursday.

The study was conducted across 10 coal mines of Jaintia Hills district in August last year. Impulse, the NGO, had collaborated with the global Aide et Action in interviewing 200 labourers aged below 18 years and documenting their experience. – southasia.oneworld.net

It’s not known how many of the fifteen trapped miners are minors…..

Drilling for uranium may be cause of several thousand dead fish in river pollution mystery

“Several thousand fishes died in a river near the Indo-Bangladesh border in remote West Khasi Hills district last weekend prompting an official probe into the matter, officials said today. Dead floating fishes were first detected by local anglers on Friday last at river Kynshi, 150 km from here.

“We have deputed a team of experts to conduct an inquiry to ascertain the reasons behind the unnatural death of fishes,” Deputy Chief Minister B M Lanong said. While the report is expected to be submitted within this week, the DyCM who is also in charge of Mining and Geology did not rule out the possibility of exploratory drilling for uranium in upstream areas of the river. Government scientists also feared that the fish were poisoned either by miscreants throwing poison in the river or unscientific mining.

Meanwhile, a team of scientists from the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board today collected waters samples of Kynshi and Rilang rivers to ascertain its quality. Local influential NGOs like the Khasi Students Union blamed the exploratory mining conducted in the area to be behind the death of fishes.

Major rivers of another district in the state, Jaintia Hills district, have also been declared “dead and unsafe for human consumption” as it is “acidic” due to unregulated and unscientific coal mining in the areas.”

Tuesday, 17 April, 2012 at 15:29 (03:29 PM) UTC RSOE