Shillong: While Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma continues to claim strict instructions have been given to district administrations to deal with illegal coal mining activities, Leader of Opposition Dr Mukul Sangma claims the ground reality is very different.

Dr Mukul Sangma said illegal mining continues unabated in Meghalaya, particularly in South Garo Hills District.

Dr Sangma said he had visited Era Aning Coal Dumping Ground in South Garo Hills for inspection and found evidence of illegal coal mining and transportation. He stated that the state government is in no mood to deal with the illegalities and, therefore, there has to be an attempt to seek the intervention of the judiciary.

On Monday evening, the media confronted the Meghalaya chief minister about the allegations to which he stated that the government was very clear on its stand.

“We have given strict instructions to Deputy Commissioners and the police department to ensure that no illegal coal mining activities take place, and that only people or trucks with legal and proper documents be allowed. And that is what is being followed,” the chief minister said.

Urging the citizens and people concerned to write to the government, CM Sangma assured that inquiry will be conducted and action taken in case they find any illegal coal mining activities.

“If anybody has any complaints, please do write to us and we will act upon it. But we have given strict instructions that everything should happen with proper documentation; everybody should follow the procedure and only then move forward, and no illegal activities will be allowed,” the chief minister reiterated.

Recently, the Achik Holistic Awakening Movement (AHAM) had sought the intervention of Meghalaya Chief Secretary Rebecca Suchiang to take action against government officers for allegedly facilitating transportation of illegal coal in South Garo Hills.

In their complaint to the chief secretary last Tuesday, AHAM chief George Prince Ch Momin had alleged that officers of the department of Commissioner of Transport, Mining & Geology and Deputy Commissioner of South Garo Hills are illegally allowing M/S Jaimaa Coal Private Limited of Beltola Guwahati, Assam, and others to export/transport coal from Nongal Jadigittim area of South Garo Hills.

Similarly, another NGO Constitutional Rights Forum (CRF) had alleged that illegal extraction of coal was taking place in South Garo Hills and sought the immediate halting of transportation of the mineral. The NGO alleged the district administration was allowing this illegal activity.

In its complaint to the Meghalaya Chief Secretary, the forum called for action against the commissioner of transport, director of mining and geology as well as the deputy commissioner of SGH for allegedly allowing the illegal activity.

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