The autumn session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly ended on Thursday, although, the No-confidence motion moved by the opposition Congress was defeated by a voice vote on Wednesday, the party will soon decide on its next move against the state government’s apathy to address the alleged illegal mining and transportation of coal.
“As far as we are concerned, we will be sitting and take a call on the next approach and what should be done,” Leader of Opposition, Mukul Sangma told reporters after the culmination of the five-day autumn session on Thursday.
Stating that no-confidence motion was the first approach taken up to bring the issue to the notice of the government in the House, Mukul Sangma however said, “We did it as we wanted the government to be really serious and have some demonstration and sense of realization and the intent of course correction but that didn’t happen.”
Asserting the need to look at the illegal coal trade from a larger picture, the former chief minister said, “Have I not said there is a cartel working? You have to know that there are powerful people involved and that it is not confined only within the boundaries of Meghalaya that means it goes beyond the boundary. Exactly as I said you see media reports coming from this particular region whether you talking about Barak Valley, Kamrup district you are seeing and you are hearing it…so you compile all these things and then recreate the whole story from last two years you will see everything like a mirror image as to how it is well scripted.”
If the party would demand a CBI investigation, Mukul said, “It will come because I have said this whole cartel is not confined within the interstate of Assam and Meghalaya it is beyond it. Therefore, there are other measures.”
On repeated denial of the Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma that there is no illegal mining and transportation of coal in the state, Mukul said, “I have told let us go together to the site where I have gone recently. Now tell me one thing if there were 1.41 lakh metric tons of coal there in the month of June. When did I go? How many months after that? Where has the coal disappeared if there is no instance of lifting and illegal transportation of coal without paying the royalty.”
The leader of the opposition also accused the chief minister of defending the illegality even after these facts and figures were presented before the House but they cannot hide the facts and the truth.
“It is quite interesting that the CM seems to be very determined to defend and protect it. Why is he so determined to defend and protect it and say no nothing has happened and there is no illegality? 1.41 lakh mt and hardly 15,000 – 16,000 mt of coal are left there. Where have they gone? This is only the tip of the iceberg as the more you go the more truth will get unearthed,” he said.
Mukul said the inventory that was submitted before the Supreme Court by the state government and the Mining and Geology department, there was no indicating the jurisdiction of West Jaintia Hills district.
“That means if 1.41 lakh Mt of coal has been accumulated there. It has not happened overnight it has taken over a period of time. You cannot expect 1.41 lakh mt to be mined and dumped in those depots in a period of one-two days or a week; it has taken a substantial period of time since the judgment of the Supreme Court on July 3, last year. This proves beyond a reasonable doubt the records we have seen and records say 1.41 lakh mt that means huge illegal mining has taken place during that period,” he alleged.
The leader of opposition said those illegally mined coals which have been assessed based on the order of the Deputy Commissioner by the District Mineral Officer (DMO) which indicated 1.41 lakh mt has disappeared. “You have seen the counting was done by the DMO and DC on the spot and in our presence and the total number counted was given to me duly certified by the DC and DMO jointly and that is 1064 truckloads, which are used to transport the coal from the mines to the depots,” he said.