SHILLONG, Oct 7 - Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has proposed the use of technology to check and control illegal mining in the State even as he informed that action has been taken against as many as 11 illegal limestone quarries.
�Action has been taken against 11 such illegal quarries identified by the department with (the use of) GPS coordinates,� Conrad said while replying to a call attention on illegal mining in West Jaintia Hills (WJH) district moved by opposition Congress legislator from Umroi George B Lyngdoh in the recently concluded autumn session of the State Assembly.
He said that divisional forest officer has also requested the district administration to invoke the provisions of section 144 CrPC in all such areas vulnerable to illegal mining in WJH.
Earlier, while moving the call attention, Lyngdoh said that illegal mining has to stop and asserted that if mining has to be done, it should be in a legal manner so that it ensures a planned approach with strong environmental safeguards.
Stating that the illegal transportation of limestone is more startling, he wondered how the illegal miners got the challans to transport this illegally mined limestone.
He said where this limestone is being transported when this road leads to only one destination, that is, Bangladesh, adding the illegal transportation and also illegal exports are leading to huge revenue loss and indicates corruption at various levels.
Lyngdoh said these activities could have been detected by various agencies and departments like Mineral Resources, Forest and Environment, police and BSF, Transport department and Customs.
In reply, Conrad informed that the government is looking at different technologies that could be adopted in order to ensure the system is tightened up.
�(I admit) We have financial challenges and I think if proper technology, proper administration and all stakeholders would work together I am sure we will be able to reduce these kinds of illegal activities that is going on,� Conrad said.
�Technology is something we can use to really look into this aspect and control the illegal mining that is taking place and ensure the revenue that is collected by the State also goes up and our environment is also protected,� the CM added.
�I assure that provisions of the Meghalaya Minor Minerals Concession Rules, 2016 will continue to be strictly enforced throughout the State,� he said.
Earlier, Conrad informed that the department had granted 55 mining leases which include 20 mining leases for limestone and 32 for boulders and three for granite.
Of these, nine mining leases for limestone and six for boulders are located in WJH district, which were granted since January this year.
Apart from this, the department has also granted 103 letters of intent (LoI) for grant of mining leases for limestone and 96 LoI for boulders.