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NGT pulls up Centre

Delay in clearing Meghalaya mining plan

NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday pulled up the Centre for not clearing the mining plan for Meghalaya again while accepting its old notification that allowed mining in the hill state under the traditional law.
Justice Javed Rahim, who was hearing the case in absence of the Tribunal chairperson put the case for hearing on November 11.
The State Coordination Committee of Coal Owners, Miners and Dealers Forum on Wednesday brought to the notice of NGT the notification issued on June 24, 2010, that said in Meghalaya, coal is mined under the traditional and customary rights vested on the local tribes and that the mines operated by the tribes were not subjected to the provisions of the law that regulates the operation of coal mines.
The Tribunal also accepted the additional suggestions on mining guidelines submitted by Thomas Nongtdu, president of the Jaintia Cement Manufacturing Association.
“This is for the second time the Ministry of Environment was hauled up by the bench for inordinate delay in clearing the mining plan,” Ranjan Mukherjee, who argued for the State, said. The State government has already submitted a detailed mining plan but the Centre is dragging its feet on it, the court felt.
On July 21, NGT had pulled up the Ministry of Environment and Forest for the delay in preparing the mining plan for Meghalaya after the ministry outsourced the matter to experts. It had also asked the Ministry of Environment and Forest, the Ministry of Coal and Meghalaya government to hold a meeting to finalise the mining plan and submit a report at the earliest.
The coal owners’ forum had submitted opinions as stakeholders for the draft mining guidelines to the Ministry of Coal and the Ministry of Forest and Environment in Delhi earlier. The Tribunal had conceded the prayer of coal miners giving them the liberty to submit such proposal to ascertain the views of the stakeholders.

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