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Rat Hole Mining in India: Risks, Bans&Environmental Concerns



  Nov 28, 2023

Rat Hole Mining in India



What is Rat Hole Mining?

Rat hole mining is an unconventional practice of coal mining prevalent in the northeastern regions of India, notably Meghalaya. It involves digging small tunnels into the ground, resembling rat holes, where miners crawl to extract coal.

Why is Rat Hole Mining a concern in India?

This method poses significant risks, including fatal accidents, environmental degradation, and exploitation of labor. The unscientific nature of this mining can also lead to water contamination, land subsidence, and loss of biodiversity.

Is Rat Hole Mining legal in India?

Rat hole mining was banned by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2014. However, illegal mining operations continue in some areas due to the economic dependency of local communities on coal.

What are the environmental impacts of Rat Hole Mining?

The environmental impacts are severe, including deforestation, water pollution, and soil erosion. The method also releases toxic chemicals into nearby water bodies, affecting aquatic life and local water supplies.

What are the risks to miners?

Miners, often including children, face grave risks such as collapsing tunnels, suffocation, and exposure to toxic fumes. The lack of safety measures and emergency protocols further exacerbates these risks.

What measures are being taken to address Rat Hole Mining?

Efforts include enforcing the ban on rat hole mining, implementing alternative livelihood programs for affected communities, and strict action against illegal operators.

How does the ban on Rat Hole Mining affect local economies?

The ban impacts the livelihoods of many local communities who depend on coal mining. It has prompted the need for sustainable economic alternatives and re-skilling programs for miners.

What can be done to prevent illegal Rat Hole Mining?

Strengthening surveillance, community awareness programs, and providing economic alternatives to mining are essential steps. Moreover, implementing strict penalties for violations can deter illegal activities.

Are there safer alternatives to Rat Hole Mining?

Safer mining techniques and practices can be adopted, which ensure environmental protection and workers’ safety. This requires investment, regulation, and training in modern mining methods.

SRIRAM’s


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