The state government has proposed to allow the Meghalaya Mineral Development Corporation Limited (MMDC) to take up coal mining in the State.
“The State Government have taken up with the Centre to involve Para 12 AB of the Constitution so that this particular provision of this Act and also relevant provision of the MMDR Act, 1957 is exempted from its operations in respect of the scheduled areas of the State through a Presidential notification rescinding the provision of the Act,” CM Dr Mukul said.
“MMDC will have the right to operate the mine as per the agreed terms and conditions. It is more like outsourcing of the MMDC to the land owners.
After the mining activities are completed, the mine closure and reclamation of the land has to be done as per the statutory laws from the environment and health perspective.
After the mines have been reclaimed, the land will be return to the land owners. Therefore, where is the question of land alienation,” Chief Minister said.
Even before the coal mining ban was imposed in 2014, Chief Minister said that the State Government had stated that they are coming up with an effective comprehensive mining policy to enable scientific mining.
“This particular responsibility of an elected Government was not attended to by the Governments in the preceding years. Precisely because nobody wanted to regulate this coal mining activity despite the fact there is going to be certain challenges like the intervention of the judiciary and the tribunal,” Dr Mukul observed.
The Chief Minister further observed that the Government has responded to the given resonsibilities and came up with the Mining policy and in 2012, the policy was notified.
“After this, there were forces who tried to malign the congress and the Government saying that the mining policy will now alienate and till date, misinformation campaign is going on. I would like to warn our friend not to spread this kind of false information,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister said that the provisions under the MMDR Act, 1957 clearly states that coal mines had to be auctioned before giving to the private miners adding that it is the Coal Mines Nationalisation Act, 1973 which governs the ownership of coal.
“The relevant sections of the Act states that the Government of India is the owner of the coal mines.
Therefore, as per the law, one can apply for mining only after getting the mining lease. How can you get the mining lease when you are not the owner.
The law states that ownership has been vested with the Government of India,” Chief Minister said.
Meanwhile, Dr Mukul claimed that the then Congress led UPA Government in the Centre had constituted a committee to examine this proposal of the State Government to invoke Para 12 AB of the Constitution.
“In 2014, I had met the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and presented him the proposal and explain exhaustively on the ultimate way forward.
I have told him there is no other way but to exempt the operational part of the relevant section of the Act through Presidential notification.
The then Prime Minister immediately directed to examine it further and put up for necessary decision,” Dr Mukul claimed.
He further said that a number of development has taken place and questioned that stance of the BJP Government on this matter stating “What prevent the BJP government from further examining this” while alleging the Centre of intentionally blocking the procedure.
“That means they are conniving to deprive our people the benefit of the provision of the constitution.
The constitutional provision Para 12AB of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution provides that any law passed by the Parliament can be rescinded through Presidential notification in respect of its operation in any part of the scheduled areas or the whole of the scheduled areas of the State of Meghalaya.
Therefore now, we are talking about restoring the right of our people which the State Government is standing for. Are they not trying to snatch away the right of our people,” Chief Minister further questioned.