Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Kongkal Sangma on Wednesday reiterated that his Government would focus more towards finding solution to critical issues including getting the ban on coal mining lifted as his coalition Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) Government completed six months in office.
Conrad took over as Chief Minister on March 6, when he was not elected as member of the State Assembly and the six-party coalition MDA Government being led by the National People’s Party, will complete six months in office on Thursday (September 6).
Conrad was elected member of the Assembly from South Tura Assembly constituency in the by-election held on August 23.
Conrad was elected from Tura Lok Sabha constituency in the by-election on May 16, 2016, and he resigned as Lok Sabha member on Tuesday.
Asked about challenges that the MDA Government encountered in the last six months and priorities ahead, Conrad said, “When we took over the Government, we did have challenges in term of taking over the system and there were some of our members who were new and even myself when I took over. It is normal for anybody to get into the system and get into the momentum. Things have smoothened up in the last six months and we are now in a proper momentum to work.”
He said that the main challenges have been financial difficulties that the state is facing, and lots of pending schemes and works required to be completed.
The Chief Minister said that coming months and years would very critical and crucial for his government and in the last six months, lot of focus has been put in.
On coal mining ban, Conrad termed it a “complex” one, as he talked about issues that come on the way while moving towards finding solution.
“The complexity is huge as there are multiple ministries and multiple issues involved. It requires a lot of work to be coordinated between the Central government and the state and has to get along with various ministries – mines, coal, forest and environment and climate change, and home ministry. It is not an easy task, but we are very focus and hope that we are able to find a solution,” he said.
In the last six months, he said, around 12 meetings were held with officials of various Central ministries.
On getting Meghalaya exempted from Central laws like the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, Coal Mines (Nationalization) Act, 1973, the chief minister informed that the Coal Mines Nationalization has been repealed, about four months but still the MMDR Act is still applicable.
“We have also sought exemption from the provisions of the MMDR Act,” he said.
He reiterated that mining cannot be compromised in any way when it comes to environment and safety of miners.
How difficult/easy in carrying the coalition along, the chief minister said, “carrying the coalition is never easy and always a challenge that will continue in the future too. But I am thankful to the partners for their focus and understand the policies we are taking up. There is lot of support from the partners and some tough decisions have to be taken.”
He also assured that a common minimum programme of the MDA Government would be in place.