Shillong, April 17: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Tuesday told the Meghalaya Assembly that the ban on coal mining by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had made an impact on the economy of the State as well as on the lives of those who were dependent on coal mining.
Making a statement in the Meghalaya Assembly on an earlier resolution passed by the House in 2015 to invoke para 12 A (b) of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to exempt the State from the provisions of Central laws on mining, Conrad urged the stakeholders involved in coal mining to ensure that the environment is protected from the ill- effects of their activities.
“There has been a huge impact on the economy due to the ban. But we also need to think about the environment. We have to strike a balance between the economy and ecology,” the Chief Minister said.
He said due to rampant coal mining in the past the rivers have been contaminated and there has been no land reclamation.
Sangma said with the increase in economic activities, the environment would get affected but it should be ensured that the impact is minimal.
He also said it is the responsibility of the legislators, officials and mine owners to be responsible towards the environment.
“Due to the ban on coal mining by the NGT since April 17, 2014, the government had been losing royalty on the mineral,” Sangma added.
“From the tune of around Rs 700 crore annually, the royalty on coal has dropped drastically,” he said.
He also informed the House that after the NGT ban on coal mining, many have lost their jobs directly or indirectly.
“There has been a huge loss to the industries which are dependent on coal such as the paper mills of Silchar (Assam) and cement plants,” Sangma said.