SHILLONG, MAY 5: A felicitation programme in recognition of the efforts of the State government to initiate scientific mining in Meghalaya was held at Khliehriat today that was attended by Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma and Deputy Chief Minister, Sniawbhalang Dhar. Also present was MLA, Sutnga-Saipung, Santa Mary Shylla.
Addressing the gathering, Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma, said the moment for which all had gathered was important and historic for the ban on mining activities by NGT had far reaching effects on the lives of the people of the State and specifically the people of East Jaintia Hills. “It was the hardships and the economic difficulties of the people who depended on mining that motivated me to ensure that mining activities are revived in our State,” he said.
He informed that with the lift on the ban after the judgement by Supreme Court the government had devise the mining plan of the State following the guidelines for safe mining and protection of the environment. “in the last three years we have been working continuously with the Government of India to come up with a system that is applicable only in the State of Meghalaya given the uniqueness of the State where the land belongs to people,” he added.
The Chief Minister further said that devising a mining plan specific to Meghalaya was huge challenge both for the Government of India and the government of Meghalaya. “I must at this point of time acknowledge the efforts of the mining department and the entire team of legal experts, environmental experts and the miners who have been supporting the government to ensure that we are able to finally come up with a plan and policy and today after long years of struggle it is a moment of great joy for each one of us,” he said. He also informed that the government will further work with the government of India so that gradually other miners will be able to procure their mining lease. “We will have the mining department to have awareness programmes on how to go about applying for the mining lease and we urge those who have got their mining lease to guide the other fellow miners,” he added.
He also added that the restoration of mining in the State will impact all other industries will be impacted. “The coal mining at this point is not only about coal mining and miners but its about the overall economic impact on the other sectors that will bring a new economic era for our State and the multiplier effect and this particular moment is a defining moment for the State,” said the Chief Minister.
Earlier, Secretary, Mining and Geology, E Kharmalki informed that there are 17 applicants for the mining lease and another four applications will be forwarded to the government of India.