No headway in rescue attempts at Umpleng
CM assures strict action on illegal coal mining

Shillong, June 3: Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has assured that appropriate action as per law will be taken against people who are involved in illegal coal mining even as all efforts are being made to rescue the five labourers trapped inside a coal mine in East Jaintia Hills District.
Speaking to reporters here today, Sangma said that any sort of illegal activities will not be allowed but one has to realize that the system is huge.
He said even though there are laws that are meant to stop people from committing illegalities yet illegal things are happening adding whether it is a law to stop people from murdering other people, the law is there but murder does take place.
Reminding that the law is there to take action against those who break the law, the Chief Minister said, “Therefore, appropriate action as per law will be taken against those people who are involved in this (illegal coal mining).”
He also claimed that all efforts have been continuously made by the government to ensure there are no illegal activities taking place.
“But yes we have seen unfortunately that in some areas this has happened but from the government side, we are very firm, we are very clear that none of these illegal activities will be allowed and anybody involved in such activities, strict action as per law will be taken against them,” Sangma reiterated.
On the opposition Congress’ demand for setting up separate independent inquiries in different coal rich districts to end the illegal coal trade, the chief minister assured that the government would examine the suggestion.
“We will see how it is as I said from the government side, we have been very clear and have taken a number of steps to ensure that illegal mining does not take place. We will examine this demand that has come from the opposition and accordingly will take action after examining the entire matter,” he added.
Sangma said that the rescue operation is something which is very important and that the government and the administration is doing whatever they can to bring out the victims safely.
He further said, “We hope that with the rain stopping there will be some scope for us to be able to work. I have requested the Home Minister to personally visit the site and monitor this entire situation, which he has been doing.”
He informed that the NDRF team has already reached the site to assist in the rescue operation.
“So all steps and all measures will be taken to ensure we can get them alive and will do our best and hope that we are able to save them,” the CM added.
The Chief Minister said that the coal mine was abandoned for quite some time as per reports submitted to the government.
“From the initial reports that are coming to us, there was some kind of activity which looked like they were looking at the option of starting mining out there. So it was technically an abandoned coal mine. We can presume that they had gone there with the intention of starting some kind of mining but again it is something which is not very clear,” he stated.