Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Clamour to lift the NGT ban


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AT an environmental conference organised by a leading NGO  in July last year, chief minister, Mukul Sangma was queried by journalists if he would have the courage to take hard decisions to save the environment. Without demur the chief minister said, “What is good for the people is good for the government.” Today this quick response must come to haunt him as he stands in solidarity with those who have extracted the heaviest price on the environment- the coal mine owners. That meeting for lifting the ban on coal mining by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), led by a lawyer who has jumped several political fences and is now looking for political resurrection by taking on the NGT, was populated by well-fed gentlemen. The poor are a good excuse for the rich to ride their bandwagons of insincere compassion. That the chief minister of the State should join hands with these men against nature is appalling.
But in an era where the line between business and politics is fading and the chief minister himself or his relatives stand to gain from coal mining activities, it is natural that he would stand on the side of commerce rather than with the large majority of Meghalayans who earnestly desire to save the environment and who see the NGT ban as a timely blessing. This present dichotomy should teach the people of Meghalaya some very important lessons for the next election. They should beware of electing businessmen/women-politicians. They should ask all those who contest what is their stake in the environment? People should vote out all those who have supported the lifting of the NGT ban or who remained silent about it. Elected leaders are expected to stand with the people who vote them not with those who finance their election and other expenses. The NGT ban has indeed shown up the true colours of our politicians.


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