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March 1 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


Article 371A of the Indian Constitution presents a significant challenge to regulating coal mining in Nagaland.

This provision grants special provisions to Nagaland, protecting Naga customary law and complicating government oversight, particularly concerning recent fatalities in rat-hole mining accidents.

Understanding Article 371A

Origins and Scope:

  • Introduced as part of the 13th Amendment in 1962, Article 371A grants special provisions to Nagaland, safeguarding Naga customary law and social practices.
  • It restricts the application of Parliament’s acts to Nagaland concerning religious or social practices, administration of justice, and ownership of land and resources unless approved by the Nagaland Legislative Assembly.

Implications on Mining Regulation:

  • Article 371A limits the state government’s authority over land and resources, which are primarily governed by Naga customary laws.
  • This poses challenges for regulating coal mining activities, especially in ensuring compliance with safety and environmental regulations.

Regulation of Rat-Hole Mining in Nagaland:

Coal Mining Landscape:

  • Nagaland holds significant coal reserves, albeit dispersed unevenly across the state.
  • Rat-hole mining is prevalent due to the scattered nature of coal deposits, with large-scale operations being impractical.

Rat-Hole Mining Practices:

  • Rat-hole mining involves extracting coal from narrow horizontal tunnels, often dug by hand, posing safety and environmental risks.
  • Licences for rat-hole mining, granted to individual landowners, are subject to specific conditions outlined in the Nagaland Coal Policy.

Challenges and Regulatory Efforts:

  • Despite regulations, instances of illegal rat-hole mining persist, driven by economic necessity and lax enforcement.
  • Balancing economic interests with environmental concerns poses a challenge, particularly given the dependence of local communities on coal mining for livelihoods.

Impact of Article 371A on Mining Regulation:

Limitations on Governance:

  • Article 371A’s special provisions hinder the government’s ability to regulate mining activities effectively.
  • The recent fatalities in rat-hole mines underscore the urgency of addressing safety concerns and enforcing regulations.

Way Forward:

Enhanced Monitoring and Enforcement:

  • Strengthen monitoring and enforcement mechanisms to curb illegal mining, including increased surveillance and penalties for violators.

Community Outreach and Education:

  • Conduct awareness programs to educate local communities about the hazards of unregulated mining and the importance of adhering to safety and environmental standards.

Collaborative Strategies:

  • Foster collaboration between government agencies, local communities, mining license holders, and environmental organizations to develop sustainable mining practices that balance economic development with environmental conservation.

In navigating the complexities of regulating coal mining in Nagaland, it is imperative to address the legal constraints imposed by Article 371A while prioritizing the safety of miners and the preservation of the environment.


March 1
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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