Shillong, Dec 29 (PTI) The Opposition Congress in Meghalaya has urged the state government to take steps for legalising coal mining, alleging “rampant” unlawful mining activities in the region. Also Read - Efforts to end child labour in Meghalaya: Dy CM Tynsong

The demand comes following the coal mine disaster in Meghalaya in which 15 people are still trapped in a flooded illegal rat-hole mine at Lumthari village in East Jaintia Hills district since December 13. Also Read - Army joins rescue ops to track trapped miners in Meghalaya

“Why the state government is not taking up the matter of regularising coal mining in the state with the Centre? Legalising mining and strong regulations to surround the activity is the only way out,” senior Congress leader Ampareen Lyngdoh said. Also Read - Meghalaya miners: One body retrieved, another spotted in illegal mine, SC informed

Lyngdoh had on Friday led a six-member opposition team to the accident site and made recommendations to the state government for rescue efforts.

“Fresh coal dumps are seen on both sides of the road from Khliehriat till Lumthari. This is evident of the rampant illegal mining that is still going on in the state,” she alleged.

“It seems lawlessness is becoming supreme here. There were not enough forces to implement the ban either,” the Congress leader said.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2014 imposed a blanket ban on mining and transportation of coal in the state for its adverse environmental effect and the absence of safety measures for the miners.

The Shillong East MLA said Meghalaya government has failed to call an all-party meeting to discuss on the need to resolve the ongoing ban.

“The government should call us, as we need to fight for legalising (coal mining) since we cannot stop it,” she added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.