Meghalaya deputy chief minister, Prestone Tynsong said that two agencies – the Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI) and Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd have been roped in to help the State Government to prepare mining plans for the State.
Tynsong also termed the Supreme Court judgment as ‘historic’ for allowing coal mining in privately or community-owned land in the State in accordance with approved mining plan as per the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulations) Act, 1957, and Mineral Concessions Rules, 1960.
“The objective of mining plan is to blend it with the MMDR Act,” Tynsong said.
Tynsong said that people of the State have suffered since 2014 due to the ban on coal mining by the National Green Tribunal.
“The Apex Court has now confirmed that land and minerals belong to the people of the State.
“The ban on coal mining has affected the economy of the State since 2014, especially as the State’s revenue from coal used to be Rs 600 crore annually,” Tynsong said.
He said that though the NGT order has been set aside by the Supreme Court, but safety of miners and protection of the environment must be taken care of while mining coal in the State.
Meanwhile concerned citizens reiterated that mining should not be at the expense of the environment and people’s rights, including labour rights.
“As concerned citizens who helped prepares the Two Volume Citizen’s Report on Unregulated Coal Mining in Meghalaya, which the Supreme Court took congnizance, and we urge the government to implement this pro-people, pro-environment historic order of the Supreme Court in letter and spirit and not to willfully misinterpret this order so as to mislead the citizens of the state,” a statement issued by social activist, Angela Rangad said.