Coal mining in Meghalaya, banned since April 2014, is likely to be resumed legally by July.
At an election rally on May 1, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma said the Centre had approved mining leases for four persons, thus paving the way for scientific mining in the State.
An April 24 letter from the Ministry of Coal to the Secretary of Meghalaya’s Mining and Geology department said mining leases had been approved for Nehlang Lyngdoh, Maksing Sibren Nongbri, Thomas Nongtdu, and Wenni Diengngan in the Khliehriat, Kalagaw, Byndihati and Nongstoin coal blocks.
“The National People’s Party-led government has been working tirelessly to open up mining in our State. We filed a case in 2019 after which the Supreme Court lifted the ban on mining by the National Green Tribunal (NGT),” Mr. Sangma said during his party’s rally in the State’s Sohiong constituency.
The election to the Sohiong Assembly seat was postponed after the death of the United Democratic Party candidate, H.D.R. Lyngdoh ahead of the February 27 poll.
Six candidates, including the NPP’s Samlin Malngiang are in the fray for the election on May 10.
“Our government is now processing the papers for scientific mining to start within 60 days,” the Chief Minister said.
Despite the ban on rat-hole coal mining, the fossil fuel has been extracted and transported illegally for years in Meghalaya.
More than a fortnight ago, the High Court of Meghalaya declined to exonerate the State government from complicity in the export of illegally mined coal to the adjoining Bangladesh.
“Our government is now processing the papers for scientific mining to start within 60 days”Conrad K. SangmaMeghalaya Chief Minister