Representative photo. Image credit - Meghalaya Times

Meghalaya will prepare its mining plan for coal mining by also taking the state mining policy into consideration.

The Meghalaya Mines and Minerals Policy 2012 has been formulated with an aim to facilitate systematic, scientific and planned utilization of mineral resources and to streamline mineral based development of the state, keeping in view, protection of environment, land, health and safety of the people in and around the mining areas.

The policy also dwells on ensuring optimal utilization of available mineral resources, realization of vast mineral potential, generate revenue for socio-economic development, uplift the economy of the state and enhance employment opportunities.

Deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong informed that the state government has already engaged the Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI) and Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited (MECL) to help on behalf of the state government prepare the mining plan in the state, while stating that the state mining policy, 2012 will also be taken into consideration while preparing the mining plan.

In its judgment passed on July 3, the Supreme Court bench which comprised of Justice Ashok Bhushan, and Justice K.M. Joseph passed a judgment on a case related to the ban on coal mining in Meghalaya imposed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on April 17, 2014.

Also read: Meghalaya’s coal forum hails Supreme Court judgment on coal mining

While lifting the ban, the apex court said that while implementing statutory regime for carrying out mining operations in the hills districts of Meghalaya, the state has to ensure compliance of not only the MMDR Act, 1957 but Mines Act, 1952 as well as Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

Also read: Meghalaya rights activists hail SC verdict on coal mining

Tynsong said mining and transportation of coal can start only after the mining plan is approved by the central government.

Those who wanted to go for mining, they have to submit their mining plan first to the state government through the mining and geology, and the same would be forwarded accordingly to the concerned ministry of the Central government.

Also read: SC sets aside NGT ban on coal mining in Meghalaya: Conrad

On the apprehensions that the procedures would be lengthy and affect small time miners in the state, Tynsong said that stakeholders should not have any misunderstanding on this.

Also read: Exemption of mining laws: Meghalaya govt has taken U-turn, says Mukul

“We have to consider the importance of striking a balance between livelihood activities and protecting the environment. We should learn from the past, because we have suffered a lot from 2014. We need to realize that environment is equally important as well as livelihood,” he said.

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