The NGT committee discussed about methods related to scientific coal mining in Meghalaya, and asked the state government to submit its mining plan in the next meeting to be held on July 22 and 23.

Justice BP Katokey, a former judge of the Gauhati High Court and chairman of the NGT committee convened the meeting on Friday in Shillong and discussed with officials of the Meghalaya government steps taken to address acidic streams and rivers in Jaiñtia Hills and methods related to scientific coal mining.

“We have discussed about scientific mining and our job is to find out whether it is possible or not, and if so, what types of scientific mining is suitable here. The committee will submit its report as the NGT has asked us to submit by end of August this year,” Katokey said.

Also read: Meghalaya CM tells 15th Finance Commission about coal mining ban impact

He said that the Meghalaya government has to submit its mining plan in the next meeting of the committee and those things will be discussed thoroughly.

The committee also asked the state government to place before it the report that was submitted in 2010 while also directing a joint venture company to submit its report submitted in 2010.

“Whether this existing joint venture company will be able to operate or not, it will be a legal issue. But there is an alternative method of coal mining that is everything done by machines,” he said.

“Nobody is required to go inside the mine which will not have any safety hazard or problem. This has to be implemented by the state government because there will be land issue since the land tenure system is different and land owners have to be taken into confidence. They have to give their land for mining activities and district councils also are involved. Therefore, everybody has to be taken into confidence before taking any decision on scientific mining,” Justice Katokey added.

The NGT committee also discussed about micro-algae treatment of water in rivers and streams in East Jaiñtia Hills District as the water there is highly acidic with a pH of 2.5 to 3.5.

One firm has also submitted a proposal for pilot project in one stream costing around Rs 17 lakh.

“We have seen their presentation and will have a decision on that whether to allow the pilot project or not. If we allow the pilot project to happen we can get the result which is always good for the villagers to have at least clean and non-acidic water. Presently, people are using acidic water for their own consumption which we have seen on one presentation.

The committee also saw a presentation from NESAC relating to satellite imaginaries of East Jaiñtia Hills district where they could identify the number of mines available in the district, the roads available and also the drainage system.

The committee also received complaint from one transport association alleging illegal transportation of coal.

The SP of Ri-Bhoi district admitted that a truck carrying coal overturned in a village road and FIR has been lodged and investigation is going on.


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