Exporters’ body slams Govt over delay to permit limestone export and mining plans

Shillong, July 28: Limestone exporters today asked the State government to permit export of extracted limestone and approve mining plans submitted by quarry owners.

Meghalaya Minerals Exporters’ Chambers of Commerce, president Stodar Dkhar told reporters here today though the government has notified the “Meghalaya Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 2016” on September 12, 2016 asking quarry owners and those who own the quarries on lease, to apply for mining lease, yet the government has not given its approval.

Dkhar said that he himself had applied for mining lease and submitted his mining plan, but there was a delay in getting approval, adding that he had already spent Rs 5 lakh for preparing the mining plan.

“What is the problem for the government to issue mining lease and approve the mining plans which has been pending now for many months?” Dkhar asked, even as he pointed out that in the Directorate of Mineral Resources, there is only one geologist.

“As many as 16 mining plans have been submitted but only six were found conforming to the rules,” he said.

He said that though the state forest department had already assessed the quantity of limestone available in stocks for export, yet no permission was given for export till date.

He said that in East Khasi Hills district, the quantity of limestone available in stocks is between 40 lakh and 50 lakh metric tonnes.

Asking the chief minister Mukul Sangma who holds mining and geology department to solve the problem, Dkhar said that people depending for livelihood on limestone from quarry owners to labourers have been affected.

Dkhar said that when Minister, Prestone Tynsong was in-charge of the Forest Department, things were moving as he used to convene meetings to find solution to the problem.

However when asked if the blame should go to the Chief Minister and the present Forest Minister, Clement Marak, the MMECC leader did not want to blame them.

Whether he demanded that Marak should be removed as Forest Minister, Dkhar said that it is upto the chief minister and the government to do so.

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