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NGT ban on coal mining: Guv for exemption from central laws

SHILLONG: The government is more inclined to secure exemption from central laws to resume coal mining in Meghalaya after rat-hole mining was banned by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
This was indicated by Meghalaya Governor Banwarilal Purohit in his address to the Assembly on the first day of the Budget session on Friday.
According to the Governor, what the government is looking at is to get exemption from the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973, and also to impress upon the Central government to amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.
“Many issues and complexities have surfaced with regard to mining of major minerals such as coal and lignite as the central laws relating to development and regulation of mines and minerals would be applicable to Meghalaya unless a specific exception is provided by specific legislation,” the Governor said.
According to Purohit, with the NGT ban on coal mining and unauthorised transportation of coal, the state is formulating a proper framework as required under the relevant laws for safe and scientific mining.
“However, with the peculiar circumstances in the context of Meghalaya and the manner in which mining of coal has been undertaken, unless the application of the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973, is withdrawn in relation to Meghalaya, it may not be feasible to carry on with coal mining in the state,” the Governor said.
Purohit said in pursuance to the resolution passed by the Assembly, a proposal was submitted by the government to the centre to issue a notification invoking paragraph 12(A)(b) of the Sixth Schedule to the effect that the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act,1973, will not be applicable to areas falling within the purview of the Sixth Schedule in Meghalaya.
“Further, to facilitate expeditious approvals and clearances and keeping in view the relatively small nature of coal deposits, a proposal for certain amendments in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, was also submitted to the Centre,” he added.

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