Article 371A’s Impact on Nagaland’s Coal Mining Rules

  • The Nagaland Chief Minister is under pressure to control coal mining following a sad occurrence in which six miners perished in an explosion.
  • The Indian Constitution’s Article 371A grants special land rights, complicating efforts to curb unlawful coal mining activities. 

Article 371A: Special Provisions for Nagaland

Historical ContextEstablished in 1963 for Nagaland, recognizing its autonomy after the Naga people’s struggle.
Religious & Social PracticesProtects Naga tribes’ customs, traditions, and religious practices from external interference.
Customary LawsAllows continuation of indigenous legal systems and traditional methods of justice.
**AutonomyGrants Nagaland autonomy in managing its land, forests, and natural resources.
LegislationReserves seats in the Nagaland Legislative Assembly for various tribes and communities.
Special RightsAims to protect Naga people’s rights and promote socio-cultural development within the state.

Why are we discussing this?

  • Rat-hole Mining: Nagaland’s coal mining policy, which allows for rat-hole mining due to the scattered nature of coal reserves, creates obstacles for efficient regulation.
  • Licence Restrictions: Small pocket deposit licences issued to private landowners have constraints on lease tenure, mining area, and machinery usage, as defined in the Nagaland Coal Policy (First Amendment) of 2014.


  • The combination of constitutional requirements, customary land rights, and regulatory frameworks presents complicated issues for the Nagaland government in combating illegal coal mining activities.
  • As legislative deliberations continue, concerted efforts to raise public awareness, implement regulatory reforms, and enforce laws remain critical to protecting the state’s natural resources and community welfare. 

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