The NGT (National Green Tribunal), on Friday, has asked the state government of Meghalaya to deposit Rs. 100 crore with the central pollution control board towards restoring the environment. The decision came days after a judicial panel headed by Retired Justice BK Katakey found largescale violations of a coal mining ban in Meghalaya.

The order comes even as rescue workers fervently pump out water from a 370-feet illegal coal mine in East Jaintia Hills, where at least 15 miners were trapped on December 13. Nearly 20 days on, they are now placing their hopes on a huge pump from state miner Coal India Limited that's being installed on a concrete platform near the mine.

The NGT had imposed a ban on rat hole mining in 2014. The investigation committee had submitted its report about the mines operating without a lease or a licence two days ago.

The NGT order came following the Supreme Court's strong stand on the slow pace of rescue efforts.

The govt quoted the seepage of water into the mine from a nearby river as a hindrance in the rescue operations, in its defence.

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