Indian Bureau of Mines, which is the National Technical Regulator of the mining sector, has ‘disapproved’ Meghalaya Cements Ltd’s ‘Mining Plan’ for the period 2021-22 to 2025-26.

P.K. Bhattacharjee, Regional Controller of Mines of the Indian Bureau of Mines informed Kailash Chandra Lohia, director of Meghalaya Cements Ltd that the review of the Mining Plan for South Khliehjri limestone mine has not been approved.

The Indian Bureau of Mines ‘disapproved’ the Mining Plan after it found that the Surface Plan and the Environment submitted by the Meghalaya Cements Ltd were not properly updated.

It was also found that both the Surface Plan and Environment Plan did not match with the final Land Use Data submitted in KML format.

The Indian Bureau of Mines told Kailash Chandra Lohia that any further submission by Meghalaya Cements Ltd will be considered as a fresh draft submission.

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The Indian Bureau of Mines turning down Meghalaya Cement Ltd’s ‘Mining plan’ is likely to be a big blow to the company, which has embarked on a plan to expand its production capacity by a whopping 110.75 percent.

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It has been reported that Meghalaya Cements Ltd, the producer of Topcem Cement has proposed to expand production capacity from 2,600 tons per day (TPD) to 2 million tons per annum (MTPA).

The manufacturer of Topcem Cement has also proposed upgrading its Captive Power Plant at its factory at Thangskai in East Jaintia hills of Meghalaya from 10 MW to 40 MW.

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In addition to disapproving the Mining Plan, the Indian Bureau of Mines also served a show-cause notice to the producer of Topcem Cement.

Vikash Kumar, Assistant Controller of Mines of the Indian Bureau of Mines served the violation-cum-show-cause notice to Kailash Chandra Lohia, director of Meghalaya Cements Ltd for violating provisions of the Mineral Conservation and Development Rules, 2017.

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The show-cause notice held Kailash Chandra Lohia responsible for deviating from an earlier Mining Plan of the South Khliehjri limestone mine near Thangskai in East Jaintia hills district in Meghalaya.

“…it is clearly observed that the mine benches have advanced towards the north-west side of the mining lease between Pillar I and Pillar 2, which is not as per the approved review of Mining Plan,” the show-cause notice, read.

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The show-cause notice sent to Kailash Chandra Lohia said the violations constitute an offence punishable under Rule 62 of the Mineral Conservation and Development Rules, 2017.

Punishment under Rule 62 of the Mineral Conservation and Development Rules, 2017 is imprisonment, which may extend up to two years, or fine, which may extend to Rs 5 lakhs. And in case of continuing contravention, there would be an additional fine of Rs 50,000 per day.

Earlier, the Indian Bureau of Mines had served a violation notice to Ramesh Kumar Pareek, president of Topcem Cement for not employing Mines Manager and a Geologist at the South Khliehjri limestone mine.

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