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In which one of the following geographical regions of India was 'Rat-Hole Mining’ prevalent until it was declared illegal by the National Green Tribunal?
1. North-east
2. South-west
3. North-west
4. South-east

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Correct Answer - Option 1 : North-east

The correct answer is North-east.

  • The 'Rat-Hole Mining’ was prevalent in the north-east states until it was declared illegal by the National Green Tribunal.
  • The National Green Tribunal had ordered an interim ban on Rat-Hole Coal Mining in Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya on 17th April 2014.
  • Coal reserves are predominantly found in north-east regions like Assam and Meghalaya.
  • Rat-Hole Mining is a primitive and hazardous method of mining for coal.
  • Rat-Hole Mining is done with tunnels that are only 3-4 feet in diameter, leading to pits ranging from 5-100 sq. mt deep.
  • In Rat-Hole Mining the coal is taken out manually, loaded into a bucket, and dumped on a nearby un-mined area.
  • It was banned soon after a petition submitted on pollution issues in the Kopili river due to the acidic discharge from the mines.
  • The studies conducted by the North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong says that the Kopili river has turned acidic due to the discharge of acidic water from mines and the leaching of heavy metals.
  • Even after the ban, the practice continues unabated.
  • Water from rivers and streams in the mining area will gradually become unfit for drinking and irrigation and is toxic to plants and animals.

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