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Meghalaya CM: Scientific coal mining to begin in state soon, 4 miners to get licences

First Published: 16th January, 2023 20:22 IST

The move is expected to impact small miners, but the state govt is likely to bring in amendments at an appropriate time

In a big announcement ahead of the Meghalaya Assembly polls, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Monday said that 4 companies would soon be given mining licences to start coal mining in a scientific manner in the state.

“17 applicants applied for prospecting licences. These were sent to the Government of India. Union Coal Ministry has finally given in writing the approval to those where the geological reports of the states have been submitted by the miners. There are 4 applicants who submitted the geological reports. They have got the approval from the Government of India. This is one step away from getting the mining licence. Soon mining will start in the state following the scientific process,” CM Sangma said addressing the media this evening.

CM Sangma said that the introduction of scientific mining in the state would put an end to illegal mining that has been going on for so long.

Sharing how his government moved the Supreme Court against the ban that was imposed on coal mining in 2014 by NGT, the CM said, “Since then there were no concreted steps taken to lift the ban. After we came to power we took it up and filed the case in the Supreme Court (SC). The SC gave a landmark judgement where we had to ensure that the ownership of the land would be with the local tribal residents of the state. Based on that the ban on coal mining was lifted. Certain procedures were also laid down through which mining could take place. Hence the process of scientific mining was brought in the state. In March 2022 SOPs for prospecting licences and mining licences for coal in Meghalaya was formed as per the directives of the Government of India and Union Coal Ministry”.

CM Sangma said that the introduction of scientific mining is likely to impact small miners but the state government thought it better to start with something rather than nothing. “It would affect small miners, but the question and the choice is between not moving at all or at least moving forward with the procedure and then getting things rolling and at an appropriate time bringing in amendments. So we decided that it would be better if we are able to start”.

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