Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Monday informed that the Ministry of Coal has finally given the state government in writing that the geological reports submitted by four miners have been approved by the Government of India. Sangma informed out of the 17 miners who got prospective mining licenses, four got geological clearance.
“This is one step away from the mining license to now be given. Hence, these four applicants will submit their mining plans as per the norms laid down by the Government of Meghalaya and Government of India,” Sangma said while addressing media persons.
“We expect that the licenses should shortly be given to these four miners…Hence, this is a major step towards now opening up the mining in a scientific manner. We are very hopeful that very soon the scientific process for mining will start in the state,” he said.
The chief minister said, “…it requires us to first of all lift the ban, create the SOPs, there were certain terms and conditions that were laid down by Government of India which we have to fulfill, prospecting licenses have to be done, geological surveys and reports have to be made – so a lot of works have to be put into.”
When asked, Sangma said, “The others will follow but what is important is that the process has now started.”
“This is great news for the entire coal sector in the state and for all the miners who have really suffered for a very long time which has led to huge economic loses to the people and more importantly these people have suffered a lot in the beginning because earlier when the ban was imposed no steps were taken to lift the ban at that point in time. Only when this government came in that steps were taken and we have put in a lot of hard work into this and we are happy that we are finally seeing results of this and as I said we are just a step away now from the final mining lease.”
On the demand to amend to SOPs since the minimum requirement of land is not less than 100 hectares for granting of mining lease, the chief minister however said that the SOPs are being prepared in consultations with the Government of India.
“We (State Govt) cannot just make SOPs at our own will. Therefore, when we discuss these discussions led to the point where Government of India was not willing to reduce that and hence we felt at that point of time if we continue to get stuck on that land issue or the size we may not be able to move forward with the entire scientific mining process,” he said.