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State seeks exemption from coal mining law

Cabinet authorises mining and geology department to move Centre

SHILLONG: The State Government has decided to move the Centre seeking exemption of Meghalaya from the purview of the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973, following the National Green Tribunal’s ban on rat-hole coal mining in the state.
Informing this after a Cabinet meeting here on Friday, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said that the mining and geology department would exclusively deal on the issue.
“The cabinet has authorised the mining and geology department to take up with the Central government to exempt coal mining in the state from the purview of the act,” Sangma said.
He informed that his government had earlier urged the Central government to invoke Para 12 A (b) of the Sixth Schedule through a Presidential notification to exempt the state from the purview of the Central law.
According to the Section 3 of the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973 stated that the right, title, interest of the owners in relation to the coal mines shall vest absolutely with the Central government.
According to Sangma, the concerned department would also follow up the state government proposal for invoking Para 12 A (b) of the Sixth Schedule through presidential notification.
“The state government’s commitment to regulate coal mining as per statutory laws will also be placed before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in the upcoming hearing on July 7,” he said.
“Several cottage industries in the North East have been affected following the NGT ban on coal mining,” he said.
Sangma said his government had come up with its Mines and Minerals Policy, 2012, to regulate mining activities in the state.
Reacting to a query about the delay  in approving the request of the State Government to invoke para  12 (A) of the constitution  through Presidential notification, he said that  matter was being examined by various ministries of the  Union Government.
The green court had ordered an interim ban on “rat-hole” coal mining in Meghalaya from April 17, 2014, after the All Dimasa Students’ Union and the Dima Hasao District Committee filed an application before the tribunal alleging that the water of the Kopili river was turning acidic due to coal mining in Jaintia Hills.

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