Topic Of The Day:-“No Lessons Learnt: On Meghalaya Mining Disaster”

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 stopunscrupulous 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 mostremunerative 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.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.


1) trapping

Meaning : trick or deceive (someone) into doing something contrary to their interests or intentions.

Synonyms : ambush

Antonyms : blessing

Example : “I hoped to trap him into an admission”

2) unscrupulous

Meaning : having or showing no moral principles; not honest or fair.

Synonyms : dishonest

Antonyms : moral

Example : “unscrupulous landlords might be tempted to harass existing tenants”

3) exploiting

Meaning : make full use of and derive benefit from (a resource).(v)

Synonyms : using

Antonyms : wasting

Example : “500 companies sprang up to exploit this new technology”

4) desperate

Meaning : feeling or showing a hopeless sense that a situation is so bad as to be impossible to deal with.(adj)

Synonyms : daring

Antonyms : afraid

Example : “a desperate sadness enveloped Ruth”

5) remunerative

Meaning : pay (someone) for services rendered or work done.(v)

Synonyms : accord

Antonyms : deny

Example : “they should be remunerated fairly for their work”

6) tunnels

Meaning : dig or force a passage underground or through something.(v)

Synonyms : channel

Antonyms : bridges

Example : “he tunnelled under the fence”

7) incumbent

Meaning : necessary for (someone) as a duty or responsibility.(adj)

Synonyms : necessary

Antonyms : unnecessary

Example : “the government realized that it was incumbent on them to act”

8) rescue

Meaning : save (someone) from a dangerous or difficult situation(v).

Synonyms : delivery

Antonyms : failure

Example : “firemen rescued a man trapped in the river”

9) adequate

Meaning : satisfactory or acceptable in quality or quantity.(adj)

Synonyms : capable

Antonyms : inappropriate

Example : “this office is perfectly adequate for my needs”

10) kin

Meaning : one’s family and relations.

Synonyms : affinity

Antonyms : unrelated

Example : “many elderly people have no kin to turn to for assistance”

11) rigour

Meaning : the quality of being extremely thorough and careful.(n)

Synonyms : harshness

Antonyms : agility

Example : “his analysis is lacking in rigour”

12) extraction

Meaning : the action of extracting something, especially using effort or force(n).

Synonyms : eradication

Antonyms : addition

Example : “mineral extraction”

13) flawed

Meaning : having or characterized by a fundamental weakness or imperfection.(adj)

Synonyms : erroneous

Antonyms : accurate

Example : “a fatally flawed strategy”

14) incorporating

Meaning : take in or contain (something) as part of a whole; include(v).

Synonyms : absorb

Antonyms : disperse

Example : “he has incorporated in his proposals a number of measures”

15) displaced

Meaning : take over the place, position, or role of.(v)

Synonyms : deranged

Antonyms : reinstated

Example : “he believes that books may be displaced by the electronic word”

16) remiss

Meaning : lacking care or attention to duty; negligent.

Synonyms : derelict

Antonyms : careful

Example : “it would be very remiss of me not to pass on that information”