No lessons learnt: on Meghalaya mining disaster

 

 

 

 

No lessons learnt: on Meghalaya mining disaster

The Meghalaya mining disaster exposes a series of administrative lapses
The disaster(आपदा) that struck a coal mine(कोयले की खान) at Ksan in Meghalaya’s Jaintia Hills district on December 13, trapping(फंसाया/पकडना) at least 13 workers, is a shocking reminder that a fast-growing economy such as India continues to allow Dickensian mining(खनन) practices. India being home to some of the worst(दुष्टतम/सब से बुरा) mine disasters, such as Chasnala near Dhanbad in 1975 in which more than 370 people were killed, the full spectrum(वर्णक्रम/विस्तार) of mining activity should be tightly regulated. Yet, the Ksan mine, referred(उल्लिखित) to as a rat hole, was allowed to function in violation (उल्लंघन ) of not just safety norms but a complete prohibition(रोक/निवारण) issued by the National Green Tribunal. Clearly, the administration did not act to stop unscrupulous(बेशरम/शंका रहित) operators of the illegal(अवैध ) mine from exploiting(शोषण करना/लाभ उठाना) desperate(मायूस/हताश ) workers, some of them from Assam, who were willing(तैयार/इच्छुक) to work the rat hole tunnels because that is the most remunerative(पारिश्रमिक/लाभकारी) employment available to them. Unscientific(अवैज्ञानिक/अशिक्षित) mining led to a collapse(गिरावट/पतन/ of the chamber and deadly flooding(बाढ़) followed. After disaster struck, it was incumbent(निर्भर/अनिवार्य) on the Meghalaya government to launch an immediate(तत्काल ) rescue(बचाव ) effort(प्रयास). But it did not possess the equipment(उपकरण/सामग्री) to dewater the stricken mine quickly, and did not show any urgency in requisitioning(प्रार्थना करना) it from elsewhere(और कहीं), in spite(बावजूद/विरोध) of the involvement((भागीदारी/फंसाना) of the National Disaster Response Force. The families of the workers are now left hoping for a miracle. Meghalaya has no excuse(बहाना/माफ करना) for not closing down such dangerous mines. What it can and should do now, jointly with the Assam government where needed, is to offer adequate(पर्याप्त ) compensation(मुआवजा) and jobs for the next of kin of the workers without delay.

NDRF personnel engaged in rescue operation at the coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district. 
In Meghalaya, where it took 15 deaths for the reality of illegal mining to hit hard

Official(आधिकारिक) inquiries(पूछताछ) into flooding disasters at approved mines, including(सहित) Chasnala, have shown serious shortcomings in safety management. Two years ago, a landslip at an open cast mine in Goda, Jharkhand, killed 23 people, raising(उठाना) questions about the rigour of the technical(तकनीकी ) assessment(मूल्यांकन) done prior to expansion(विस्तार/वृद्धि) of extraction(निष्कर्षण) activity. A study on three big flooding accidents published in 2016 by the IIT-Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, concluded(निष्कर्ष निकालना) that the official approach(पहुंच/दृष्टिकोण) of fixing responsibility(ज़िम्मेदारी) on human error was flawed, since it did not try to identify the root cause(मूल कारण।). There is little evidence(सबूत) to show that pre-mining surveys (सर्वेक्षण )and safety protocols are incorporating(शामिल) such advice. The case of illegal mines falls in a different category. Unapproved work, which appears to have led to the Meghalaya accident, cannot continue, and employment should be provided to those who are displaced. Illegal mining has been highlighted by activists(कार्यकर्ताओं), but they have become targets of violence(हिंसा/उत्पात) by those operating the mines. In the glare of national attention, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has acknowledged that illegal mining does take place. His government has been remiss(बेपरवाह/असावधान) as it failed to act on the NGT’s directions. It must bear responsibility for what has happened at Ksan, and work to prevent(रोकें) such tragedies(त्रासदियों /शोकपूर्ण घटना).

 

Important Vocabulary

1. Disaster(आपदा)
Synonyms: calamity, catastrophe, collapse, crash, debacle
Antonyms: achievement, advantage, attainment, benefit, blessing

2. Worst(दुष्टतम/सब से बुरा)
Synonyms: lowest, bad, inferior, least, unfavorable
Antonyms: best

3. Spectrum(वर्णक्रम/विस्तार
Synonyms: rainbow, chromatic spectrum, hue cycle

4. Exploiting(शोषण करना/लाभ उठाना
Synonyms: abuse, apply, capitalize on, employ, handle
Antonyms: leave alone, misuse

5. Desperate(मायूस/हताश )
Synonyms: bold, dangerous, daring, determined, frantic
Antonyms: afraid, calm, cowardly, fearful, meek

6. Remunerative(पारिश्रमिक/लाभकारी)
Synonyms: advantageous, beneficial, gainful, lucrative, profitable

7. Rescue(बचाव )
Synonyms: delivery, recovery, relief, salvage, deliverance
Antonyms: failure, danger, peril

8.Trapping(फंसाया/पकडना)
Synonyms: ambush, ambuscade, beguile, circumvent, collar
Antonyms: aid, allow, assist, be honest, disenchant

9. Incumbent(निर्भर/अनिवार्य)
Synonyms: binding, necessary, compelling, urgent
Antonyms: unnecessary

10. Compensation(मुआवजा)
Synonyms: allowance, benefit, bonus, coverage, earnings
Antonyms: debt, hurt, loss, penalty, damage

11. Adequate(पर्याप्त )
Synonyms: acceptable, capable, competent, decent, fair
Antonyms: inadequate, inappropriate, incapable, incompetent, inept

12. Involvement((भागीदारी/फंसाना)
Synonyms: crisis, embarrassment, entanglement, quandary

13. Inquiries(पूछताछ)
Synonyms: analysis, audit, examination, hearing, inspection
Antonyms: answer, ignorance, neglect, reply

13. Assessment(मूल्यांकन)
Synonyms: appraisal, estimate, judgment, computation, determination

14. Extraction(निष्कर्षण)
Synonyms: eradication, abstraction, derivation, drawing, elicitation
Antonyms: addition, insertion, introduction

15. Expansion(विस्तार/वृद्धि)
Synonyms: development, enlargement, extension, increase, inflation
Antonyms: abridgment, compression, decrease, reduction, shrinkage

16. Evidence(सबूत)
Synonyms: clue, confirmation, data, deposition, documentation
Antonyms: concealment, denial, hiding, contradiction, disproof

17. Violence(हिंसा/उत्पात)
Synonyms: assault, attack, bloodshed, brutality, clash
Antonyms: calm, health, kindness, method, niceness

18.Tragedies(त्रासदियों /शोकपूर्ण घटना).
Synonyms: adversity, calamity, catastrophe, failure, hardship
Antonyms: advantage, benefit, blessing, favor, fortune

 

 

Credit To The Hindu News Paper

The Meghalaya mining disaster exposes a series of administrative lapses
The disaster that struck a coal mine at Ksan in Meghalaya’s Jaintia Hills district on December 13, trapping at least 13 workers, is a shocking reminder that a fast-growing economy such as India continues to allow Dickensian mining practices. India being home to some of the worst mine disasters, such as Chasnala near Dhanbad in 1975 in which more than 370 people were killed, the full spectrum of mining activity should be tightly regulated. Yet, the Ksan mine, referred to as a rat hole, was allowed to function in violation of not just safety norms but a complete prohibition issued by the National Green Tribunal. Clearly, the administration did not act to stop unscrupulous operators of the illegal mine from exploiting desperate workers, some of them from Assam, who were willing to work the rat hole tunnels because that is the most remunerative employment available to them. Unscientific mining led to a collapse of the chamber and deadly flooding followed. After disaster struck, it was incumbent on the Meghalaya government to launch an immediate rescue effort. But it did not possess the equipment to dewater the stricken mine quickly, and did not show any urgency in requisitioning it from elsewhere, in spite of the involvement of the National Disaster Response Force. The families of the workers are now left hoping for a miracle. Meghalaya has no excuse for not closing down such dangerous mines. What it can and should do now, jointly with the Assam government where needed, is to offer adequate compensation and jobs for the next of kin of the workers without delay.

NDRF personnel engaged in rescue operation at the coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district. File photo
In Meghalaya, where it took 15 deaths for the reality of illegal mining to hit hard

Official inquiries into flooding disasters at approved mines, including Chasnala, have shown serious shortcomings in safety management. Two years ago, a landslip at an open cast mine in Goda, Jharkhand, killed 23 people, raising questions about the rigour of the technical assessment done prior to expansion of extraction activity. A study on three big flooding accidents published in 2016 by the IIT-Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, concluded that the official approach of fixing responsibility on human error was flawed, since it did not try to identify the root cause. There is little evidence to show that pre-mining surveys and safety protocols are incorporating such advice. The case of illegal mines falls in a different category. Unapproved work, which appears to have led to the Meghalaya accident, cannot continue, and employment should be provided to those who are displaced. Illegal mining has been highlighted by activists, but they have become targets of violence by those operating the mines. In the glare of national attention, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has acknowledged that illegal mining does take place. His government has been remiss as it failed to act on the NGT’s directions. It must bear responsibility for what has happened at Ksan, and work to prevent such tragedies.

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