Business Standard

Citizens' report urges halt on coal mining in Meghalaya

IANS  |  Shillong 

A group of social activists on Sunday released two volumes of a citizens' report the that in be stopped completely and other forms of energy, which are climate-friendly but need investment, be promoted.

The two-volume report released by social activists Agnes Kharshing, Amita Sangma, Angela Rangad, and others has been submitted to the with a plea to consider it for hearing.

The submission of the reports is significant in the wake of 15 miners being trapped in an illegal flooded coal mine in districts for a month now, besides the murderous attacks on social activists and Sangma.

The first volume of the citizens' report examines the claims about livelihood and tribal autonomy vis-a-vis It looks at how and why unregulated and illegal in continues even after the orders of the (NGT) and the of

The second volume puts together these reports in the backdrop of the murderous attack on and Sangma by the "coal mafia (coal mine owners that include five public representatives, bureaucrats, administration and police officials) and leaders of self-styled non-state social groups and 'NGOs' and the total state apathy towards these attacks".

Based on many existing peer-reviewed research papers, news reports, publicly available government documents, audit reports and experiences, the report demanded that coal mining in be stopped completely and other forms of and livelihood that are climate-friendly but need investment be given a push.

The report urged the apex court to act against against the coal mafias who are undermining and misleading the democratic institutions such as the NGT and the courts.

"All orders be rescinded and no further of coal be permitted. Any coal awaiting should be taken over by the government and used for public sector undertakings," the report noted

the court to initiate a inquiry into the attack on and Sangma, the report said: "Legal action be taken against all the people, including government officials, who are responsible for the loss of revenue of the government as named in the Comptroller Auditor General's reports."

"There is a need to freeze all land registrations in and around the mining areas... The court has to uphold NGT ruling on ban till proper regulatory framework on prospecting, granting of leases, granting of necessary clearances, environmentally-sustainable mining, mine reclamation, land laws and labour laws are in place," the report said.

It noted that and should be directed to maintain real-time maps in the three states of Meghalaya, and through Global Positioning to monitor the trucks, performance of police, mining and transport departments to ensure transparency and tax compliance.

Noting that despite an interim NGT ban on coal mining since April 2014, the report said that of coal has continued and of coal also continued as usual.

"The must develop and host in the public domain an end-to-end, transaction-based management information that enables suo motu disclosure (as mandated under Section 4, Right to Information Act) of leases granted, mining lease documents, environment clearances, forest clearances, board clearances, royalties paid, quantum of mineral extracted and royalty paid," the report stated.



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First Published: Mon, January 14 2019. 00:10 IST