Shillong: The Meghalaya government has arrested 95 people and chargesheeted 146 others within this year in cases related to illegal coal mining in the state. The information was shared by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma in the Meghalaya Assembly on Monday, in response to a question raised by legislator Mohendro Rapsang.

MLA Rapsang asked the chief minister if the Union Government had officially denied any illegalities in coal mining transportation in the state based on the state government’s inputs.

Sangma said the Union government’s response in the Rajya Sabha was based on inputs provided by the Meghalaya government. “The Meghalaya government has taken measures to ensure no illegal mining takes place in the state. The government has enforced provisions of the MMDR Act 1957 and cases are being registered under section 21 of the said Act.”

Sangma said the authorised officers have been notified by the government under section 21(4) of the MMDR Act for seizing any mineral that has been mined or transported unlawfully, along with vehicles, tools and equipments.

“In exercise of power conferred under section 22 of the MMDR Act, officers are authorised to make written complaints before the court for offences punishable under the said Act,” Sangma said.

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To clarify Rapsang’s question, Sangma said that all illegal activities pertaining to coal mining in the state have been stopped and efforts are on to end illegal coal mining activities completely.

The chief minister said his government was clear on its stand and does not support any illegalities. “The government of Meghalaya has registered more than 250 cases and investigations are on. When this government took over, we imposed the MMDR Act. In last few months alone, 95 arrests have been made and 146 have been chargesheeted,” Sangma said.

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