Shillong, July 5: Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong on Friday informed that the state government is engaging two agencies to help coal miners to prepare mining plan in order to restart mining activities in the state.
“We have already engaged the Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI) and Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited (MECL) to help miners on behalf of the state government prepare the mining plan,” Tynsong told reporters here.
The Supreme Court in its judgment passed recently has lifted the ban imposed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for the past five years by allowing coal mining to resume in Meghalaya as per the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act, 1957.
Tynsong however said mining and transportation of coal can only be started after the mining plan is approved by the central government.
“For those who wanted to go for mining they have to submit the mining plan first to the state government through the mining and geology, which will accordingly forwarded the same to the concerned ministry,” he informed.
Admitting that the state mining policy was already approved by the Cabinet in 2011, Tynsong said that the mining policy will also be taken into consideration while preparing the mining plan.
Whether the process would affect small time miners, the deputy chief minister however appealed to stakeholders not to misunderstand but to consider the importance of striking a balance between livelihood activities and protection of the environment.
“Let us adjust with the environment because environment is for the next generation. Our earning is also for the present and the next generation and we should balance it. We should learn from the past, because we have suffered a lot from 2014. There is a need to realize that environment is equally important as well as livelihood, and they to move side by side,” he said.
While hailing the judgment passed by the Supreme Court, the opposition Congress had said that the direction to hand over the extracted coal to the Coal India Ltd for disposal will bring down illegal activities that are happening right under state government’s nose.
According to the Leader of Opposition and former chief minister Mukul Sangma, the Supreme Court had given such a direction because it is aware of the illegalities going on in respect to coal mining in the state.
He also denied that the direction of the Supreme Court in this respect was a big blow to the state government.
“It is not a blow to the government, infact it is good because when the Supreme Court says those extracted coal around 30 lakh metric tons will be handed over to the Coal India Ltd for auction, meaning for selling. After selling, the money will be transferred to the state’s exchequer and then to the mine owners, whoever names appeared in the affidavit filed before the Apex Court. Why should it be a big blow when the Coal India Ltd will take care of selling the extracted coal,” the Deputy Chief Minister.