On the second day of the ongoing autumn session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, the opposition Congress has criticized the Government as they accused the people in power to be involved in the illegal mining and transportation of coal.
Moving a motion in the Assembly on Monday, Congress spokesperson and Rangsakona MLA, Zenith Sangma recalled the ill-fated incident when two women activists – Agnes Kharshiing and Amita Sangma were brutally attacked in coal-rich East Jaintia Hills district on November 8, 2018.
He said the activists were targeted and assaulted by the organized criminals, who were involved in illegal mining and coal transportation adding the women, who were seriously assaulted could recover from their injuries after a long time but unfortunately, proper justice has not been given to the victims.
Stating that as per preliminary investigation into the case, people who are members of the party in power in the present government are seen to be involved, Sangma said the working president of the NPP from Jaintia Hills, Nidamon Chullet was identified as the main accused.
Referring to the seizure of over 20 trucks at Malidor in February, this year, the Congress leader said in the preliminary investigation, once Bison Shylla, who happens to be the brother of the MLA from the region, was found to be involved but got anticipatory bail.
“From (these incidents), we can understand the people in power seem to be involved in these illegalities,” he alleged.
Slamming the government for its repeated denial against illegal mining and transportation of coal, Sangma said hundreds of coal-laden trucks are plying from the national highway-40 to Jorabat and the government is denying the fact.
“Who is gaining from this? These kinds of things are being operated just to fulfill the greed of a few people and make the entire state lose the revenue that is supposed to come to the state exchequer,” he said.
Accusing the government of delaying legal and scientific mining of coal to start in the state, Sangma said during elections, the chief minister had assured that within 180 days mining of coal will start.
“From the day the chief minister was sworn in, it has been 979 days but still there is no light of day (for restarting mining of coal in the state,” he said.
Referring to the recent statement made by the deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong that there are checkpoints and illegal coal trucks are being seized, Sangma said, “He (Tynsong) was so complacent I could see and that is why he was saying why Congress MLAs are having a headache about the illegalities when we have got checkpoints. But the question arises that in spite of the fact there are lots of checkpoints how coal are being transported illegally.”
“So there are enough reasons for us to think that the people who are deployed in these checkpoints are hands in gloves with these people involved in smuggling coal,” he further alleged.
Also alleging that there are lots of scams in the power department, the Congress leader said that the government has awarded the Garo Hills package (B) for implementation of the Saubhagya scheme to a Mumbai-based company at the rate of 51 percent which is above the schedule of rate.
“Interestingly the local contractors were awarded within the schedule of rate,” he said while stating that the company from Mumbai however had surrendered the work after completing only 30 percent of the work.
Moreover, Sangma alleged there is match-fixing in giving the work as this company doesn’t have any knowledge about electrical works and that is why they had surrendered the work. EOM