NEW DELHI, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Two miners were killed after a coal mine collapsed in India's northeastern state of Meghalaya, officials said Monday.
The coal mine, according to officials, was running illegally.
The incident took place at Mooknor, Jalyiah village of East Jaintia Hills, about 140 km east of Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya.
"Two miners were found dead last evening here, who prima-facie appear to have got killed with falling boulders that hit them while they were trying to extract coal," a police official said. "The dead were identified as Elad Bareh and Monoj Basumatry from Mooknor in Jalyiah village."
Police said they came to know about the deaths after relative of one of the dead miners approached them with missing report.
"Soon after the report was lodged a search was conducted and his body along with another one was found near a 'rat-hole' coal mine," the official said.
The incident comes at a time when authorities are struggling hard to trace 15 miners that got trapped in another mine in the district on Dec. 13, 2018.
Despite pressing in men and hi-tech machinery to trace the trapped miners, so far the rescuers have not been able to reach the group of miners in "rat-hole" coal mine.
Meghalaya is one of the mineral rich states in India and has nearly 640 million tonnes of coal reserves.
Activists say illegal coal mining is going on in the state despite a ban from India's environmental court, the National Green Tribunal, on unscientific mining in the area.
In 2012, at least 15 miners were trapped in an illegal coal mine in South Garo Hills district of the state. Their bodies were never recovered, reports said.