In a significant development, the Ministry of Coal has granted mining licenses to coal miners in East Jaintia Hills for production in three blocks even the latter have hailed the chief minister Conrad K Sangma for ensuring lifting of the NGT ban.
In 2014, the National Green Tribunal imposed a ban on mining activities in Jaintia Hills.
The coal mining licenses were granted to Nehlang Lyngdoh and Thomas Nongtdu, who are land owners of the three blocks.
Both of them are also former political leaders. Lyngdoh was a former minister while Nongtdu, a former JHADC chief executive member.
In a statement, Labour and Dapmain termed the decision as the rise of dawn for the people of Jaintia Hills region especially the East Jaintia Hills district.
The licenses are in the name of Labour Lyngdoh, resident of Rymbai village, and Dapmain Shylla of Byndihati village.
“The works for preparation of Mining Plan will start as soon as possible and we hope by the early part of 2022 or by March 2022 mines opening should take place and coal production will once again start from Jaintia Hills in these three blocks,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, the coal miners also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Minister-in-charge Ministry of Coal Pralhad Joshi, and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma for hearing the plights of the coal miners and making their long awaited dreams come true today.
The NGT ban on coal mining in Meghalaya has displaced thousands of families and brought lots of miseries and starvations all over the state, the two licensees slammed the previous Congress government citing that “it (Congress) has done nothing to lift the ban or to hear the plight of the affected people.”
“This time we are lucky to have a young, dynamic, and farsighted Chief Minister Conrad Sangma for working very hard in lifting the ban, and today is a historic day for the people of Jaintia Hill,” the statement added.
The 2018, coal mining accident that killed 19 miner who went inside an illegal rat-hole mine in East Jaintia Hills never came out alive (expect an exceptionally lucky one from Assam). After that the government of Meghalaya knocked on the door of the Supreme Court for a revision of the NGT ban in the state for legalising coal mining. The Apex court in June 2019 passed an order to reopen mining in the state eight months after the tragic accident.