SHILLONG | July 12, 2019:
The Opposition Congress in Meghalaya has slammed the NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) Government for “misleading” the people on the judgment of the Supreme Court in the context of re-opening of coal mining in the State even as accusing the State Government of “defaming” the State by facilitating all the illegalities.
“Rather than highlighting on the original judgment of the apex court, the Government of the day has fooled the miners and stakeholders with wrong inputs by claiming that mining is open. I want to ask the Government whether coal mining has really been opened,” Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader, Dr Mukul Sangma said while talking to reporters after the meeting of the CLP on late Thursday night.
He said that the people also believe that mining is open and has even started to hire labourers to start the mining of coal.
“This has happened because of the wrong narrative of the Government on the judgment of the apex court. But this whole tamasha of spreading lies is coming from none other than the Chief Minister. I could not complete the 203 pages judgment even after reading for eight hours. But surprisingly without reading the judgment, they start narrating things and they are active on social media just to misguide our people,” Dr Mukul, who is also the Opposition leader stated.
He further questioned what would happen if people start mining adding that they would be arrested and subjected to various legal procedures.
Pointing out that the State Government should have prevail upon the apex court that the two Central laws with regards to coal mining should not be made applicable in Meghalaya, he said that the State Government was instead busy on prevailing upon the apex court to increase the inventory adding that the Government even revised the figure of the extracted coal again.
“The Government is trying to highlight before the apex court that there are lot of coal which has been extracted and assessed but which has not been capture in the inventory for the purpose of transport. I want to know which coal they are talking about and where is the coal,” CLP leader said.
He further said that the Supreme Court in its judgment has referred to the Katoki Committee report where there has been indication that coal mining has been going on and on even after the NGT ban. “Based on this observation, the apex court stated that all these extracted coal must be auctioned through the Coal India Limited. The apex court is not trusting the State Government and authorities of the State to carry out the exercise to auction the coal,” Dr Mukul said.
Meanwhile, Opposition leader demanded that the whole exercise of inventorisation prior to the auctioning of the claimed coal which is lying in the mines should be properly verified. “We do not want illegal mining to come up again,” he said.
According to him, the Government is duty bound and responsible to guide the people correctly. “It is not expected from the Government to facilitate wrong and to promote illegalities,” he added.
“Once this is allowed then there will be chaotic situation and our people will be acclimatized of doing things which is illegal and the name and fame of our state, which we are proud is at stake. We must also look at the ruling over the Rs 100 crore penalty which has been imposed by the NGT and upheld by the apex court,” CLP leader said.
According to Dr Mukul, the present Government is trying to malign the fame and name of Meghalaya. “Today we are ashamed because of the negative perception created by the NPP led Government,” he said.