A citizens’ report related to coal mining in Meghalaya was released in Shillong on Sunday evening by a group of social activists and the report was submitted to the Supreme Court with a plea to consider the same for hearing.
The report titled ‘Curse of unregulated coal mining in Meghalaya’ was compiled in two volumes by a group of social activists after collecting various reports related to coal mining and transportation especially after the ban was imposed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on April 17, 2014.
The report was released in the presence of social activist Agnes Kharshing, Amita Sangma, Angela Rangad, Patricia Mukhim, Michael N. Syiem, and others.
Rangad told reporters that the first volume of the report was submitted to the Supreme Court in the first week of December last year and the second volume was submitted last week with a request to also accept the report when it took up for hearing the matter related to coal mining in Meghalaya on Tuesday.
The report has been compiled by substantiating facts and figures from information received under the RTI Act, 2005, reports of the Comptroller Auditor General of India besides reports published in various newspapers and research papers and affidavits filed by different individuals.
Rangad said the report also contested against the claim that banning on cosl mining affects the likelihood of many as the fact remains that only few rich people benefitted from coal mining.
The citizens’ report also urged the Apex Court that coal mining should be stopped in order to give poor people back the opportunity to find way for livelihood instead of allowing few rich people benefit from mining by destroying the environment.
“Coal mining not only allows the rich to grab community land for mining, but also destroys the environment and pollutes the rivers and did not generate much revenue for the State. Coal mining leads to absolute degradation of environment, extortion, criminal activities and mafia raj,” Rangad said while quoting the citizens’ report.
Rangad wondered as to why poor people were exploited and suppressed and many households become landless because of mining activities while referring to alleged grabbing of people’s land for mining by mafias in East Jaiñtia Hills district.
Rangad also questioned as to how the extracted coals did not finish since 2014 till date.
“After the ban by the NGT, there was assessment of extracted coal and the actual quantity was 65 lakhs,81 thousand,147 metric tons, though the mine owners claimed about 120 lakhs, 94 thousand, 634 metric tons,” Rangad said while asking where has the revenue in the form of royalty disappeared, why there was leakage of revenue.
She said till last week it was claimed before the Supreme Court that the quantity of the remaining extracted coal is 5 lakhs metric tons.
“The extracted coal never exhausted and this happened because coal mining has been going on not only in East Jaiñtia Hills, but in other coal-rich districts of the state,” added Rangad.