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One-man panel formed on mining ban issue

By Raju Das
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SHILLONG, May 3 � The Meghalaya Government yesterday constituted a one-man Committee to guide the State Government prepare the compliance report to be submitted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on rat-hole mining ban in Meghalaya.

The Committee would be headed by additional chief secretary KS Kropha and the report and other points would be prepared before the NGT holds its next hearing in New Delhi on May 19, said Chief Minister Mukul Sangma after a Cabinet meeting.

The Tribunal, on April 17, in its interim order banned rat-hole mining and transportation of coal in Meghalaya in the interest of people working in the mines as well as for protection of the environment.

The order was passed after the Assam-based All Dimasa Student�s Union and Dima Hasao District Committee filed a petition stating that the illegal rat-hole mining in Jaintia Hills is polluting Kopili river by turning its water acidic. They also placed before the Tribunal two survey reports of 2006 and 2010 in which pH level of the water in Kopili river showed considerable difference.

Sangma, when asked, refused to give the Government�s stand if it considers rat-hole mining as illegal as pointed out by the Tribunal. �I will not answer that question � everybody knows the mandate of the law and its provision. The whole mining activities in Meghalaya is happening due to political decision from time immemorial,� Sangma said.

He said that the State has adopted several safety measures so that mining could be carried out scientifically without any damage to the environment. He said that in a recent meeting with coal miners and dealers, the Government has asked them to comply with the State Mining Policy. However, rat-hole mining is not banned in the State Mining Policy. Meghalaya has an estimated coal reserve of 640 million tonnes. Most of these coal reserves are in Jaintia Hills district and the ore is extracted using primitive mining method by the indigenous people of the State.

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One-man panel formed on mining ban issue

SHILLONG, May 3 � The Meghalaya Government yesterday constituted a one-man Committee to guide the State Government prepare the compliance report to be submitted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on rat-hole mining ban in Meghalaya.

The Committee would be headed by additional chief secretary KS Kropha and the report and other points would be prepared before the NGT holds its next hearing in New Delhi on May 19, said Chief Minister Mukul Sangma after a Cabinet meeting.

The Tribunal, on April 17, in its interim order banned rat-hole mining and transportation of coal in Meghalaya in the interest of people working in the mines as well as for protection of the environment.

The order was passed after the Assam-based All Dimasa Student�s Union and Dima Hasao District Committee filed a petition stating that the illegal rat-hole mining in Jaintia Hills is polluting Kopili river by turning its water acidic. They also placed before the Tribunal two survey reports of 2006 and 2010 in which pH level of the water in Kopili river showed considerable difference.

Sangma, when asked, refused to give the Government�s stand if it considers rat-hole mining as illegal as pointed out by the Tribunal. �I will not answer that question � everybody knows the mandate of the law and its provision. The whole mining activities in Meghalaya is happening due to political decision from time immemorial,� Sangma said.

He said that the State has adopted several safety measures so that mining could be carried out scientifically without any damage to the environment. He said that in a recent meeting with coal miners and dealers, the Government has asked them to comply with the State Mining Policy. However, rat-hole mining is not banned in the State Mining Policy. Meghalaya has an estimated coal reserve of 640 million tonnes. Most of these coal reserves are in Jaintia Hills district and the ore is extracted using primitive mining method by the indigenous people of the State.

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