NGT ban: Coal exporters keeping their fingers crossed

NEW DELHI: Anxious coal exporters from Meghalaya are now in Delhi, watching the future of rat hole mining in the State, which the National Green Tribunal has banned. Somewhat at a loss about their next step, the miners would wait for the next hearing of the NGT on Monday.

Talking to The Shillong Times, Jainita Coal Miners and Dealers Association president Balios Swer said that it would be better to wait for the next hearing of the NGT where the miners had appealed for the lifting of the ban.

Some agencies not directly related to coal mining were contemplating a move to approach the Supreme Court, but the Association members feared this could jeopardize their chances both in the apex court and in NGT.

The state Government which had assured to file an affidavit seeking lifting of the ban might to do meanwhile, Swer said.

Former Union Minister and Shillong MP Vincent H Pala said the miners should wait for the next hearing of the NGT.

Himself a coal baron, Pala also urged the miners and traders to take a united stand and wait for both the affidavit of the state Government and the next hearing of NGT.

On April 17, NGT banned rat hole mining, a practice unique to Meghalaya saying neither the people nor the government benefitted from it. Coal miners are upset at the blanket ban on mining while the government says thousands of livelihoods will be lost.

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