Meghalaya assures all efforts to ensure resumption of coal mining

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Shillong, March 22 (IANS) The Meghalaya government will put in all efforts to ensure resumption of coal mining in the state in accordance with environmental rules and regulations, the assembly was told on Thursday.

“Coal mining was a traditional form of livelihood in the state and therefore the government would make all efforts to ensure resumption of mining in accordance with the Central environmental rules and regulations,” Public Works Department Minister Prestone Tynsong said.

Replying to volley of queries during the Question Hour, he said that the state had incurred loss of Rs 416 crore in terms of revenue following the NGT’s 2014 ban on coal mining.

He said the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government is likely to adopt another resolution to urge upon the Central government to invoke Para 12 A (b) of the Sixth Schedule through a Presidential notification to exempt the state from the central law.

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Recalling that the previous Congress-led government had adopted a resolution urging the Centre to invoke the provision, he said, “A decision was also taken then that once the resolution is passed, the leader of the House will take a delegation to the Centre on this regard which unfortunately did not happen.”

However, Tynsong said that the government will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the NGT lift its ban, and may even form a delegation to meet the Prime Minister and President to apprise them on this matter.

The National Green Tribunal had ordered an interim ban on “rat-hole” coal mining in Meghalaya from April 17, 2014, after the All Dimasa Students’ Union and the Dima Hasao District Committee filed an application before the tribunal alleging that the water of the Kopili river was turning acidic due to coal mining in Jaintia Hills.

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