SHILLONG, April 19 - Chief Minister Conrad Sangma today informed the Meghalaya Assembly that officials of the State have been given strict instructions to ensure that the National Green Tribunal�s order to stop all illegal coal mining is adhered to.
Replying to a Call Attention Notice moved by Opposition Congress member George Lyngdoh, the Chief Minister said that the order to ban coal mining was passed by the NGT on April 17, 2014.
Subsequently, an order was passed on June 9, 2014, directing the State to ensure that no unregulated, illegal and indiscriminate mining is carried on by any person in Meghalaya.
However, in March 2015, the NGT noted that the transportation of coal has continued without any measures for environmental protection and without strict compliance to the guidelines framed in this regard.
The order observed that illegal mining has been going on despite specific and complete prohibitory orders. Therefore, the NGT directed the Chief Secretary, the Director General of Police, the Secretary concerned of the State Government, all district magistrates, and SPs of respective districts to ensure the enforcement of the orders of the Tribunal.
The Chief Minister further said that in compliance with the aforesaid orders, the State Government from time to time has directed all district magistrates concerned to ensure that no coal mining is carried out, and that they shall be held responsible if there is any violation.
On their part, the respective deputy commissioners issue prohibitory orders against coal mining from time to time and efforts are made to carry out periodic inspections and raids, Sangma stated.
The Chief Minister assured the House that although the State Government is keen on resuming coal mining in the State, it would not be done at the cost of the environment. Sangma said the State Government would also ensure that no child is employed in mines, and that workers� safety would be ensured when the coal mining ban is lifted.
Earlier, the Opposition Congress member alleged that rampant illegal coal mining is going on in the State, and that there is a huge racket of fake challans being issued. Lyngdoh urged the Government to bust the racket and save the public exchequer.