Assembly debates on coal ban, MDA may bring another resolution to invoke Para 12 A (b)

SHILLONG, Mar 22: The National People’s Party (NPP) led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) on Thursday said that the government may bring another resolution to pursue with the centre to invoke Para 12 A (b) of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution to exempt the state from the provisions of Central laws.

It may be mentioned that the previous government had passed an official resolution in Assembly urging the Centre to invoke this particular provision of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution.

Replying during the Question Hour, Prestone Tynsong, who was also a minister in the previous government, recalled it was decided that once the resolution is passed, the leader of the House will take a delegation to knock on the doors of the Centre which unfortunately did not materialise.

However, opposition legislator and senior Congress member Charles Pyngrope had another take on the issue.

Pyngrope rued the fact that the state government has been burning midnight oil to get the ban lifted so that mining can take place irrespective of the degradation of forests, rivers and pollution to the environment.

“All this for a mere Rs 416 crores,” Pyngrope said.

Earlier, raising the issue during Question Hour in Assembly, Independent legislator, Syntar Klas Sun was informed by Tynsong that the revenue loss due to the NGT ban on coal mining in the state was Rs 416 crore.

Pyngrope while expressing his concern, suggested the government to constitute a committee of experts, thinkers, entrepreneurs along with chief minister, and use their intellectual brains to find a cleaner way to recover the loss of revenue which will save the entire environment and people can also live with clean air.

In his reply Tynsong said that the effort of the state government to lift the ban on coal mining is not necessarily from earning (revenue) point of view but it is the livelihood of the people of the state.

“The sentiments of people is such the government needs to carry along,” he added.

Tynsong also said that the state government would plead justification of livelihood of people of the state while urging the NGT to luft the ban on coal mining.

“The government will leave no stone unturned. We will sincerely, effectively take up the responsibility to lift the ban on coal mining as per central acts,” he said.

Tynsong also informed the House that a committee recommended to carry out a pilot study of a cluster of rathole mines in Jaintia Hills in the state taking them on a watershed basis for treatment and ecological restoration.

Tynsong added that the background of the findings from the pilot project will be used for preparing a comprehensive ecological restoration plan for the entire mine area.