SHILLONG, Sept 22 � The Meghalaya Government today called the Movement for Indigenous Peoples� Rights and Livelihood (MIPRL) for a meeting, although the organization said it is going ahead with its indefinite �economic strike� scheduled from September 23.
The MIPRL said that it was not being able to consider the government�s proposal at such a short notice and so the strike is on and goods would not be transported from within and outside the State. It further said that in the letter sent to the organization by the government today, there was �no reference to or assurances on the ten point issues� raised by the MIPRL.
One of the main contentions of the MIPRL, which is an organization of the stakeholders of the coal-mining industry, is the issue of advance royalty and cess that has to be paid for transportation of coal. The MIPRL considers the royalty and cess as �oppressive� and wants the government to do away with it, since Meghalaya is a Sixth Schedule State under the Indian Constitution, and land and resources belong to the people.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) committee headed by the Additional Chief Secretary, KS Kropha has set several guidelines, including royalty, for the transportation of coal, which was subsequently approved by the tribunal. However, the NGT has not revoked its coal mining ban and the matter would be taken up during its next hearing.
The MIPRL said, �the NGT committee should not impose conditions which are in the nature of harassment or which will create such conditions that the coal owners, coal producers and coal traders will not be able to fulfil as the clause tantamount to punishing the coalmine owners.�