Shillong, May 13: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, on Wednesday, claimed that the government gave the go-ahead for transportation of coal from outside the state because of a “legal matter”.
This comes after hundreds of people from East Jaintia Hills, defied the nation-wide lockdown imposed due to COVID-19 Pandemic, to protest the decision undertaken by the state.
Pressure groups, including coal miners, dealers association and traditional institutions took to the streets at Lad Jaliyiah area, to protest the import of coal from Assam to feed the cement plants.
“We were forced to take to the streets to protest against the government’s decision to allow transportation of coal from Assam in view of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Synjuk Waheh Shnong, East Jaintia Hills District, Satly Ryngkhlem said.
Ryngkhlem said that they have given four days ultimatum to the Meghalaya government to reverse its order while threatening to defy the COVID-19 induced lockdown.
“If the government fails to comply with our demand we have no other option to cooperate with it to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the State,” Ryngkhlem said.
The Chief Minister, on the other hand, said that the government is trying to resolve the matter and appealed to the stakeholders in East Jaintia Hills district to “understand the current situation”.
“Their concerns are there their emotions are there the fact that the coal is coming from outside we have our limitations because of the legal challenges that we face,” Sangma told reporters after the cabinet meeting.
On the 2 lakh metric ton identified by the Coal India Limited for auctioning, the Chief Minister said that he had a discussion with the Coal Minister, Piyush Goyal about 10 days back and also wrote a letter to him.
“After his intervention the permission was given (for auctioning) and now it is in the process and I hope so very soon maybe I should say a week or ten days-time necessary expressions will be floated,” Sangma said.