New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday imposed a fine of Rs 100 crore on the Meghalaya government for its failure to curb illegal coal mining in the state.

A senior advocate, who is assisting the tribunal in the matter, said a report of a high-level committee was submitted on January 2 before a bench headed by NGT chairperson AK Goel.

The report stated that the majority of the mines in the Northeastern state were operating without a lease or licence.

The tribunal imposed Rs 100 crore fine on the state government as a "deterrent" and for its "inaction" to curb illegal mining in the Northeastern state.

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The lawyer said during the hearing, the state government admitted that a large number of mines were operating illegally.

At least 15 miners are trapped in the 370-foot-deep illegal coal mine in Lumthari village of East Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya since December 13 and all efforts to pump the water out of flooded mine have been in vain.

Senior advocate Raj Panjawani said the amount of the fine has to be deposited with the Central Pollution Control Board within two months.

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He said the bench in its order made it clear that the amount can be recovered from illegal miners and the officials responsible for operating mines illegally.

The National Green Tribunal had ordered an interim ban on 'rat-hole' coal mining in Meghalaya from April 17, 2014.

The latest order comes when the authorities are finding it difficult to rescue the 15 miners trapped as there is no blueprint of the 355-feet well which has a "maze of rat holes".

With PTI inputs