‘Coal Ministry consented making Central Acts non applicable in state’

SHILLONG, Jan 13: Lber Laloo who had petition the Supreme Court 2018, for exemption of central acts and also for lifting of the ban and resuming of coal mining in Meghalaya on Sunday informed that the Ministry of Coal has given its consent in making the Central Acts like the MMRD Act 1957 as well as Coal Mines Nationalisation Act 1973 non applicable in the state.

According to Laloo, the Union of India, in the matter of Lber Laloo versus State of Meghalaya and others, through its counsel has inform the Supreme Court in the form of affidavit about the decision of the Coal Ministry. The letter was dated, 10th August, 2015.

The consent by the Coal Ministry which was submitted to the Supreme Court in the form of counter affidavit (annexure 6) filed by the Union of India in the matter of Lber Laloo versus State of Meghalaya and others (DN no 3067 of 2018).

According to Laloo, in its order signed by R. P. Gupta, Joint Secretary, Government of India, clear consent has been given that both MMRD Act 1957 and CMN Act 1973 shall not be applicable in the state of Meghalaya.

“This comes as a biggest relief to the people of the state and biggest achievement in the case too. Right from day one the main contention in the matter of Lber Laloo was to exempt the application of certain Central Acts (MMRD Act 1957 and AMN Act 1973) from Meghalaya and allow the state to deal with the matter of coal mining (which is currently under the ban by the hon’ble national green tribunal) by the state government alone with very limited role of the central government once coal mining is allowed to be resumed in Meghalaya,” Laloo said.

He also said that the exemption of both acts in the State of Meghalaya will allow the local tribal people to be the owner of the minerals (coal and lignite) which is lying below the soil in their land, a right which is unlike in the other parts of the country where minerals belong to the state.

“This condition will not be disturbed or changed anymore in Meghalaya. Regulation and framing of conditions and rules for scientific and modern ways of mining, framing of policy, issuing of mining license and permission etc will now vest with the state government alone,” Laloo said.

He also I nformed that he has supplied a copy of the letter (exemption) from the Coal Ministry to the state government (through its counsel) so that it can make use of the same as and when needed.

The petitioner also said that though a decision to this effect was taken way back in 2015 by the Coal Ministry, it was never brought to the notice of the National Green Tribunal or the Supreme Court.

“It was only after several aggressive arguments for lifting the ban on coal mining and exempting of the State of Meghalaya from the said two acts by the counsel of Lber Laloo that the Union of India has finally produced the same to inform the Supreme Court about its decision on exemption of Centrals Acts,” he added.

The case which is pending before Supreme Court will be heard again on January 15, before the court of Justice A. K. sikri and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer.

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