Ever since the former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma from the Meghalaya Congress has switched over to the Trinamool party with his 12 sitting MLAs, he has left no stone unturned to slam the present Government. He has slammed the Conrad Sangma led government in the state for allegedly failing to take action against illegal coal mining.
Recently, Dr. Mukul Sangma made a surprise visit to Eraaning Coal Depot, Rongara Siju, South Garo Hills. Mukul Sangma has claimed that rampant illegal coal mining in Meghalaya continues unabated, especially in South Garo Hills district.
Upon receiving representations from GHADC members and local citizens, former Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition, Dr. Mukul Sangma made a surprise visit to Eraaning Coal Depot to check on rampant illegal coal mining ongoing in Meghalaya. After jointly visiting the area with members, petitioners and local citizens, Dr. Sangma said, "From the coal that is stacked in the ground, it is evident that dumping, loading and transportation is taking place. This area indicates that illegal coal mining is continuing at a large scale".
On the basis of the coal stacked, the geologist from the representative body has also confirmed that it is mined recently. Another MDC said, "We have found out that the complete modus operandi of running the transportation of coal is being facilitated by the government and the district authorities itself".
Highlighting the apathy of the state government in preventing illegal coal mining, Dr. Sangma called upon the Government of India and the Judiciary to take congnizance of the large scale illegal coal mining happening across Meghalaya. Demanding a court-monitored investigation, he emphasized how illegal coal mining is jeopardizing the state exchequers, district councils, and consequently people as it is done to evade regulations and taxes. Mukul Sangma said that the NPP-led Meghalaya government has turned a blind eye towards illegal coal mining.
In 2014, Meghalaya’s yearly coal production was around 6 million tonnes. Unregulated mining is so rampant in the state that several deaths go undetected and unreported almost every month. In 2014, the National Green Tribunal (NGT), a government body that handles environmental issues in India, issued an order banning mining in Meghalaya, specifically banning mining through the 'rat-hole' technique. Miners' safety, however, wasn't the only reason behind the NGT ban. The All Dimasa Students' Union in neighbouring Assam filed a petition that untreated toxic discharge from coal mines in Meghalaya was polluting streams and rivers in Assam. The rampant mining has caused large-scale denudation of forest cover, scarcity of water, pollution of air, water and soil, and degradation of agricultural land," says Professor O.P. Singh of the Shillong-based North-Eastern Hill University. The NGT based most of its order on a report prepared by Prof. Singh.
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