NEIPF issues notice to Meghalaya CS for coal royalty
From a Reporter
SHILLONG, May 15: The North East Indigenous Peoples’ Federation (NEIPF), Guwahati has issued a notice to the Meghalaya Chief Secretary, K. S Kropha to return the share of royalty on coal, limestone and other minerals to the landowners, in view of the illegal collection of royalty and the ibility of the Meghalaya government to solve the coal ban problem and the lackadaisical attitude towards the economic crisis of the state of Meghalaya.
In a letter to Kropha, the chairman of NEIPF Marshall Biam and Erwin K. Syiem Sutnga, Advocate and Adviser (Legal Affairs), stated that the Government of Meghalaya has failed to bring about an economic rehabilitation plan following the tiol Green Tribul (NGT) ban on coal mining which according to the organisation has led to the economic crisis in the state.
In this connection, it has demanded the return of the share of royalty of the Government of Meghalaya on coal, limestone and other minerals to the landowners collected by the State Government collected since 1972, excluding the share of the Autonomous District Councils (ADCs).
The letter stated, “This demand emates from the totally irresponsible attitude of the Government of Meghalaya to tackle and solve the complete ban on coal mining in the state by the tiol Green Tribul since April, 2014 and the ibility of the Government of Meghalaya to effect modification and amendment of the relevant central acts and rules to protect tribal private land ownership and rights over surface and sub-surface minerals.”
Meghalaya is in a state of economic paralysis and this will be made worse by the NGT ordering that all remaining stocks of coal be seized by the Government of Meghalaya after 15th May 2016.
The letter pointed out that the Supreme Court has clearly ruled that the government does not own the minerals and that being the case it is only the owner who can collect royalty.
“It is pertinent to mention here that Para 9 of the Sixth Schedule authorises the State Government to collect royalty only from mining leases issued by it. In the case of Meghalaya no mining leases except a few are issued by the Government of Meghalaya,” it further stated.
Sutnga added that no mining leases except a few are issued by the State Government while as per the Para 9 of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution authorises the State Government to collect royalty only from mining leases issued by it.