New Delhi: Chief minister Conrad Sangma told the assembly on Thursday that “responsible mining” will be done and there will be “no question of child labour” in the mines once the ban on coal mining by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) is lifted in the state.
Pointing out that there has been huge loss of revenue to the state because of the ban, the chief minister said the government is committed to ensuring that the economy does not suffer and that there is minimal damage to the environment.
“We are making our way forward and things will fall into place,” said Conrad, referring to his recent visit to New Delhi to meet the Union coal minister, during which meeting possibilities of lifting the ban was discussed. The chief minister is also in charge of the government’s mining and geology departments.
Responding to a call to attention motion moved by Congress legislator George Bankyntiewlang Lyngdoh, who cited newspaper reports on persisting extraction and movement of coal in the South West Khasi Hills district despite the ban, the chief minister said, “There is no illegal mining as of now.”
“A report from the deputy commissioner of South West Khasi Hills District was received which indicated that no illegal mining has been detected or reported till date,” the CM maintained. He informed that the district administration had deputed designated officers as executive magistrates to monitor illegal mining and transportation of coal or any other violation of NGT’s directives.
The CM, however, said the extra assistant commissioner in-charge of the Ranikor administration unit has been directed to conduct a detailed enquiry into the matter as reported in a section of the media. “The deputy commissioner had issued prohibitory orders against coal mining from time to time and efforts are being made to carry out periodic inspections and raids in coal mining areas,” the CM informed.
Conrad added that in compliance with the orders of the NGT, which had banned illegal rat-hole coal mining and illegal transportation of coal, the state government had from time to time directed all concerned district magistrates to ensure that no coal mining is carried out within their respective jurisdictions.
Sangma assured Lyngdoh that the issues raised by him would be taken up earnestly by the government to ensure that there is no loss of revenue and also to protect the the environment and safeguard health and safety of workers.
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