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.”
“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