Govt soon to announce good news in regards to scientific mining of coal in Meghalaya: CM

SHILLONG, MAY 15: Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said the government will soon announce good news in regards to scientific mining of coal in Meghalaya.

 

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Sangma said the process at the government of India level is over and now only the last bit where certain environmental aspects are left at the state government level.

 

“We do expect that we will be able to take this up and very soon as I said it’s just a matter of time, right after the election we should see that we should be able to give good news to the people,” he said.

He added, “But again, as I said, I don’t want to jump the gun because these are procedures for the first time happening, we could have glitches which could again delay things, I don’t expect it, but let’s just keep our fingers crossed, but as I said for the first time treading this particular part, so it’s not always easy. There are always surprises, elements of surprises there but I’m hopeful that we should be able to reach a logical conclusion very soon.”

 

Sangma said Meghalaya has a very unique situation because of the peculiar land tenure system. When the Supreme Court had lifted the coal ban and insisted that scientific mining of coal had to take place, the government of India did not have norms for a land holding system like Meghalaya, where the land is not owned by the government. Whereas in every other location in the country, the land is owned by the government and any individual, who wants to mine, applies and takes a lease from the government and then mine.

 

“Since it happened for the first time, it took more time than we expected. So that is the reason why it has been a long procedure, but as I said, now, that procedure has been defined and hence, the toughest part is over the most difficult part of creating the system, the Norms, and the policies for now future miners to apply is in place,” Sangma said.

 

The chief minister has welcomed the recommendation of the Meghalaya High Court’s Single Member Committee and said creating alternative livelihood to the people of the state including the coal rich districts has been the policy and strategy of his government in the last six years.

 

“And therefore what the court has said is correct and in fact that is precisely what we’re doing. In the last five years of the MDA government, it is exactly the objective of this government to create alternative livelihood programs and that is why all the mission mode programs that we are having,” he said.

 

Sangma informed that thousands of farmers have benefited from the Lakadong mission implemented by the state government especially in areas where coal mining is prevalent.

 

“…many SHG groups have been given food processing units and the production has gone up by more than 10 times. And today, the packaged Lakadong, powder, and even curcumin is being exported to countries like Japan, UAE and even to Europe and US,” he added.

 

The CM also highlighted the other missions such as the self-help group movements where women folks are being included and livelihood business is being provided to them, the PRIME program, CM Elevate etc.

 

“All these are meant to provide alternative livelihood because the point which I’ve been mentioning from day one, is that everything in terms of the issue of mining revolves around the ecology and the economy, which means that while we’re looking at the environment until unless livelihood of the people is not taken care of, they will continue to depend on coal and therefore, the only way to ensure that in the long term, we’re able to address this problem is to provide long-term alternative livelihood solutions,” he stated.

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