Meghalaya Autumn Session: Does the state have 32 Lakh Metric Tonnes of coal?
Shillong: Questions of coal and mining featured prominently on day two of the Autumn session in the Meghalaya legislative assembly.
MLA Syntar Klas Sunn questioned Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma whether mining leases were issued to any agency for carrying out coal mining operation in privately owned/community-owned land. He also asked if this was under the approved Mining Plan as per Act 1957 and Mineral Concession Rules 1960 following the Supreme Court Order July 2019?
The CM clarified that there is a long procedure for the mining lease. “All lease applications which have come in are in the process and still to be completed and once done they can re-start. Issues are there because the mining application process requires numerous steps to be conducted,” said Sangma.
Sunn further raised the question that in the four months from November 11, 2018, till April 6, 2019, there has been an increase of coal, so if there is an ongoing mining activity?
According to Sunn, the total coal in different districts of the state from the date mentioned was 23, 25,663.54 Metric Tonnes. Later, the Commissioner Secretary stated in 2019 that there are 32,56,715 Metric Tonnes.
Sangma clarified that in 2015, the state declared about 1. 3 crore MT of coal.
“Post that, they had assessed 95 lakh MT, there was a demand to look into the assessment. It was based on SC's order, we did a reassessment and declared 32 MT of coal,” said Sangma.
During the CM's elaborative answer, Congress Spokesperson Zenith Sangma urged the Chief Minister to be precise and to avoid beating around the bush.
With Zenith Sangma interrupting in between Conrad Sangma’s response, it led to a small altercation.
Conrad Sangma then argued that the coal counted dates back to the time the Opposition was ruling and that Zenith should question his party instead.
Conrad Sangma informed that the after National Green Tribunal giving the green light to transport coal on July 27, 2019. He said since then, five depots are ready and that currently, coal is being transported from mines to the depot in East Jaintia Hills.