In Meghalaya, metal was discovered early. In August 1908, The Times of India reported, “metal deposits in Khasi hills are still awaiting exploration in a systematic way, but the government of Eastern Bengal and Assam are now offering good terms to bring private enterprise on the scene.”

Be careful what you wish for. Over time, unregulated mining led to seepage, erosion and risks associated with digging in an earthquake-prone area, polluting soil and water. Four years ago, the National Green Tribunal banned coal mining in Meghalaya. Of course, nobody listened, mining continued, greasing the wheels of politics and bureaucracy.