Meghalaya governor Tathagata Roy at the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly on Friday Credit: EastMojo image

Shillong: The Budget Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly started on Friday with governor Tathagata Roy’s address.

Addressing the first day of the Budget Session, Roy said that the government is holding consultation with stakeholders and experts to secure environment-friendly mining and also educate the mine owners about procedures to be followed in starting coal mining under provisions of the MMDR Act, 1957 and the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960.

“The government is committed to restore the environment, damages by coal mining in the state. The state has been collecting 10% of the value from coal exported under the order of the apex court and NGT and deposited towards the Meghalaya Environment Protection and Restoration Fund. An action plan has been prepared for restoration of environment damages by coal mining and pilot projects has already commenced,” said Roy.

On the law-and-order front, Roy informed that the state has witnessed agitations and protests by various NGOs against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 and on the demand for implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in the state.

“The government is pursuing with the Centre for implementation of ILP in the state to ensure and safeguard the interests of the people of the state,” Roy said.

Meanwhile, Roy mentioned that the state government is concerned about the mob lynching incident in Syntung area as such incidents tend to mar the good reputation of the state as a peace-loving tourism destination.

“The government appeals to the citizens to refrain from all such acts of violence in the interest of maintaining peace and harmony in the state,” Roy said.

On the issue of militancy, the Meghalaya governor however said that it is completely under control in the state.

“With few cadres in Bangladesh, the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) is confined to issuing of press releases and postings on social media. The group has also expressed its desire to come overground for talks. The government reiterates its stand that the doors are open for dialogue provided they give up their unlawful activities,” Roy said.

On the inter-state boundary dispute with Assam, he said that the disputed pockets along the Meghalaya-Assam border is being monitored continuously.

“The state has also taken up the matter with the government of Assam to issue direction to maintain status quo in the area to prevent any untoward incident,” Roy said.

Meghalaya governor also informed that the state government has requested the Assam government to have a chief minister-level meeting on the border issue soon after the budget session next month.

On the developmental front, he informed that the Meghalaya Integrated Transport Project is another Externally Aided Project (EAP) funded by the World Bank with a total size project of Rs 984 crore.

“The major components of this project include construction of roads and bridges, especially the state’s major district roads (MDRs) and the state highways. The project also includes Shillong View Point Ropeway Project, Umiam Lake Ropeway Project and Nokrek Peak Ropeway Project,” Roy said.

On the implementation of PMGSY, the Meghalaya governor said that Meghalaya has received huge quantum of sanction during 2019-2019 and 2019-2020 adding that the total sanctioned received was Rs 1,729.37 crore.

“The budget allocation proposed by the Ministry of Road Development for Meghalaya during 2020-2021 is Rs 600 crore and the target for completion is 1,200 km to connect 50 habitations,” Roy said.

Informing that a total of Rs 657.06 crore was sanctioned by the Centre under the Saubhagya Scheme for the State, he said that the total number of beneficiaries to benefit from the scheme is 1,99,839 houses. “The target for completion is March 31, 2020,” Roy said.

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