SHILLONG: Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma who is also in charge of Mining and Geology department made a statement in the state Assembly on Tuesday supporting the earlier resolution which was passed on September 24, 2015 to request the Central government to invoke Para 12 A (b) of the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
Speaking on the matter in the Assembly on Tuesday, Sangma said state had suffered financially due to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ban on coal mining as there was a drastic drop in revenue in the form of loss of royalty to the tune of Rs 700 crore.
According to him money circulation above Rs 4000 crore was also affected and subsequently it led to loss of jobs for the labourers, drivers and people who maintained accounts. A lot of indirect employment avenues too were affected, he added
Sangma pointed out that sector such as the paper mills in Silchar (in Assam) and others, cement plants had also been affected which led to a huge impact in terms of the economy as a whole.
At the same time, he said the government was also concerned about the adverse impact on the environment because of coal mining.
“We have to strike a balance between economy and environment,” he said adding that rivers are affected, while increase in sulphur content in the atmosphere affected paddy fields.
He observed there was no reclamation of land as well. Stating that economic activities at no cost should affect the environment in a negative or bad way, Sangma said, “We cannot stop but measures can be taken to ensure impact is minimized.”
“We are reiterating the resolution of 2015 today and the purpose of laying statement is that we want to resume coal mining,” he added.
Stating that the Cabinet has reiterated it, he said there is provision to exempt national laws from Sixth Schedule areas under the Indian Constitution.
Informing that a delegation of the state government met the Union Coal Minister, he said crux of the problem was that some officials during the meeting which lasted for one hour, mentioned about adverse impact on environment and issue of safety of miners.
He added some of state government officials were still in Delhi and PMO called a joint meeting after the meeting with coal and environment ministries.
Pointing out that the state government was concerned over the environment issues and suffering of the people due to the ban, Sangma said environment and miners should be protected and efforts would be made to ensure that a mechanism of balance was followed.
He also urged upon the stakeholders for a concerted effort from politicians, miners on the matter as it was a complicated and delicate issue.