Shillong, July 24: Daranggre Nokmas Welfare Association of Nongalbibra area in South Garo Hills on Wednesday felicitated the Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma for winning a legal battle against NGT ban on coal mining in a program organized at Pathalgittim locality of Nongalbibra.
The felicitation programme was held in the presence of Education Minister, Lahkmen Rymbui, Thomas A Sangma, Adviser to the Chief Minister, Govt. Chief Whip, Marcuise N Marak, Rongara-Siju MLA, Rakkam A Sangma, Rongjeng MLA, Jim M Sangma, FCA Sangma, Selsella MLA, Kharkutta MLA, Rupert Momin, Nongstoin MLA, Macmilan Byrsat, Mawsynrut MLA, Jigur Myrtong and Ranikor MLA, Pius Marwein and the Deputy Commissioners of both the South and East Garo Hills districts.
Speaking on the occasion, visibly elated Chief Minister informed the gathering that the government has achieved what was promised to the people of the state before the election and said that there is no more NGT ban on coal mining in the state. During the coal mining ban, the people of the coal mining areas have been made to face hardships and sufferings and keeping in mind the plight of the people, the government have worked tirelessly to achieve the goal which will enable the state and the people to increase the source of earning and uplift the economy, he said.
Highlighting the Supreme Court ruling, the chief minister informed the gathering that the Govt. had challenged the NGT ban and the court had passed a historic judgement saying that the land and the minerals belong to the land owners thereby protecting the rights of the tribals.
Lauding the work of the Advocate General, Amit Kumar and his legal team, the chief minister said that keeping in the mind the need to protect the natural environment and mining safety, a case was filed in the Supreme Court challenging the NGT ban on coal mining and the team won the legal battle which ultimately resulted in lifting the ban. While appreciating the ruling of the court, the chief minister informed that illegally extracted coal will be auctioned by the Coal India Limited under the provisions of the MMDR Act, 1950.
Saying that ban on coal mining had been lifted and ownership restored, the chief minister informed that the political will of the present Govt. will bring visible changes to the state and its people. Saying that the coal deposits in the state is limited, he however, urged the people of the coal mining areas to invest in other sectors too so that livelihood in the future will not be effected.
The chief minister also expressed his gratitude to the coal dealers and miners associations of Khasi, Jaintia and Garo hills district for their support and cooperation in the fight challenging the NGT ban in the Supreme Court and urged the miners to respect the need to protect the natural environment.
Earlier, Karnesh N Sangma, President of Daranggre Nokmas Welfare Association, while delivering the welcome address, highlighted the plight of the people due to NGT ban on coal mining in the state and expressed his gratitude to the chief minister for his ceaseless efforts to restore the rights of the people over their land and minerals.
Others who spoke on the occasion included Education Minister, Lakhmen Rymbui, Rongara-Siju MLA, Rakkam A Sangma, Advocate General, Amit Kumar, Vijay Joshi of Gasuapara Coal Exporters Association, Manuel M Sangma, vice president of Daranggre Nokmas Welfare Association.
On the day, the association also presented a memento to the chief minister for winning the legal battle to restore the rights of the tribals in the state.
The felicitation program was entertained with melodious songs by the well-known singers like Lucas Marak, Dilsewng Sangma and Jetro Momin.