The Meghalaya Assembly witnessed heated arguments on Wednesday, as the ruling party NPP (National People’s Party) and the opposition blamed each other for the delay resumption of coal mining in the state. Congress leader Dr. Mukul Sangma attacked the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government. He said that the government is not serious about starting legal mining in the state. The leader also said that the government wants illegalities to happen in the process that suits the party's interests.
In response, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma blamed Congress for not taking any action to resolve the ban on coal mining. “Let us compare in the last five years and let us compare in the last one and a half year, I think we know whose intent is wanting. I want to ask what happened in the last five years, why didn’t they move (the issue) expeditiously. When finally we have moved forward I think everybody should be happy about it,” the Chief Minister said. He also said that the NPP government worked overtime to resolve the ban.
Congress leader Mukul Saxena then questioned the delay of the government to work on the court’s ruling. The discussion ended when Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong stood up and asked the speaker to take action and not to let such situations arise again in the parliament. “ We are not here to break rules,” he said. He also advised the opposition to bring up issues of importance in the form of special discussions in the parliament. According to sources, the discussion took more than an hour in the parliament which led to the House not being able to take up other issues in the time allotted for the question hour.
In an earlier discussion, when questioned by Mawphlang MLA SK Sunn, the Chief Minister of Meghalaya said that the Supreme Court had passed an order on July 3, that stated mining operations undertaken by the tribals or other owners of hills districts of Meghalaya in accordance with mining lease obtained from the state of Meghalaya as per the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and Mineral Concession Rules, 1960. The 2014-ban order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) shall not come in its way of carrying mining operations. The Chief Minister also said that mining shall be allowed in the state subject to compliance of provisions of the MMDR Act, 1957, the Mines Act, 1952, Coal Mines Regulation, 2017 and the Environment (Protection) Act.