State govt silent on MMDR exemption

NGT panel to meet on Thursday to discuss coal auction

SHILLONG: Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has remained non-committal on the demand of the miners from Jaintia Hills not to implement MMDR Act in the state.
The chief minister on Monday made it clear that the state government would move in a way to ensure that economic activities and livelihood of the people are not affected while at the same time, it would be responsible to the issue of environment and safety of miners.
The statement came from the chief minister as a public meeting organised by the Jaintia Hills Amalgamated & Redressal Forum (JARF) had opposed the implementation of the MMDR Act in the state which will control mining activities.
The public meeting passed resolutions, including meeting with the JHADC chief and his team of executive members, to discuss the issue and to pressurise the Executive Committee (EC) to re-appeal to the Supreme Court for exemption of MMDR Act in the state.
The forum will also meet the chief minister to demand a proper mining policy so that people can do mining without the MMDR Act in order to uplift their livelihood.
Talking to media persons here on Monday, Conrad said that all have their own right to express their concerns but the government’s responsibility is to ensure that economic activities and livelihood of the people as well as issue of environment and safety of miners are not affected.
“Now, we are in a position to ensure that all these objectives are not affected and this is an opportunity for all of us to move in that way. As a government, we have to be responsible and do things for the overall interest of the society and the state,” Conrad said.
The NGT panel headed by retired judge, BP Katakey, will have a meeting with the government officials on Thursday to discuss the coal auction policy.
Earlier, the chief minister had met the Coal India Ltd officials in Kolkata to discuss the matter.
According to Katakey, the state government officials had a meeting with the officials of Coal India Ltd in Shillong recently and the draft coal auction policy will be placed before the committee during the upcoming meeting. Over 32 lakh metric tons of coal will have to be transported after auction as per the order of the Supreme Court.

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