Young girls, also coal traders, shy away from the camera. Local trade in coal proliferates along Jowai road. It is a nocturnal affair. Traders, most of whom are women, sit in wooden shacks behind the coal heaps to buy coal. Trucks from local mines travelling to Shillong offload a little coal at these roadside shacks, while drivers pocket the extra money.
The coal bought is later sold to households in the nearby villages. Electricity and cooking gas top the list of energy requirements in the Northeast. And demand more than exceeds supply. Domestic needs are increasingly met by the ubiquitous coal
(Photographs by Monali Zeya Hazra)