Shillong, Jan 3: Former Meghalaya Chief Minister, Dr Mukul Sangma said that the incident of miners getting trapped inside a coal mine in East Jaiñtia Hills district has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the state government is “facilitating and encouraging” illegal mining.
Dr Sangma who is the Leader of Opposition also lambasted the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government over the incident where the miners have been trapped since December 23 in the coal mine at Khloo Ryngksan in East Jaiñtia Hills district.
Alleging complete insensitivity and dereliction of duty which led to failure in saving precious lives, the former Chief Minister said, “The responsibility of the government is to ensure safety. After so many days of the incident, there was no sign of commitment. The culpability aspect has to be taken and punishment has to be initiated against the concerned authority based on the culpability aspect for not responding on time in saving precious lives. They have to be prosecuted as per law. It is shameful and should be strongly condemned in as far as their insensitivity is concerned towards the given situation. They have brought shame to the state and the nation,” Sangma stated.
Dr Mukul recalled that the Opposition had repeatedly cautioned the government within and outside the State Assembly about illegal mining taking place in some other parts of the state.
“We have cautioned them repeatedly, but the state government through the Chief Minister, Conrad K. Sangma had also repeatedly denied that illegal mining was taking place. The government’s complete denial notwithstanding illegal mining going on has revealed that the truth cannot be hidden. Their lies have been exposed through this recent incident where miners got trapped in East Jaiñtia Hills and the denial of the chief minister has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the government is facilitating and encouraging illegal mining,” Dr Mukul said.
He also said that the onus and responsibility to stop illegal mining and comply with the NGT directives was vested with the Chief Secretary and DGP.
“But compliance to NGT orders in the recent past was not attended to by the concerned authorities including the Chief Secretary and DGP. It has been proved that the NGT directives have not been implemented,” he pointed out.
Demanding appropriate action against them, Dr Mukul said, “We will see that this should happen. We will not allow these people to go scot free. There are many more things which will be expressed further as rampant illegal mining is being encouraged by them. The fact is that, in the last few months illegal coal mining has been taking place with no sign of any attempt to stop the same proves beyond reasonable doubt that top bureaucrats have decided to turn a blind eye to this illegalities happening across the coal belt in the state.”
The Leader of Opposition also said that the NGT order had clearly called for compliance, and implementation of the order must be ensured by the Chief Secretary and the DGP.
“Who has stopped them (Chief Secretary and DGP) from implementing the NGT orders? They have made a mockery of the NGT orders and they cannot go scotfree,” Sangma warned.
Coal mining has been banned in Meghalaya by the NGT since April 17, 2014.