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Closure notices served to illegal limestone quarries: CM

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Press Trust of India Shillong
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma Thursday told the state Assembly that closure notices have been served to illegal limestone quarries in West Jaintia Hills district.
He said technological improved challans will be introduced to control illegal mining in the state.
"Action has been taken against 11 such illegal quarries identified by the department and GPS coordinates of these locations have been also identified," he said while replying to a call attention moved by Opposition Congress legislator George B Lyngdoh on the last day of the 5-day Assembly session.
The chief minister admitted that illegal mining of limestone were going on along the Indo-Bangladesh border and that the government has taken steps to check.
The Divisional Forest Officer has also written to the district authorities to invoke Section 144 CrPC in areas vulnerable to illegal mining under West Jaintia Hills district.
He said the state government will continue to take action against all such illegal activities.
Earlier, George who raised the call attention motion, demanded that illegal mining has to stop and asserted that if mining has to be done, it should be in a legal manner so that it ensures a planned approach with strong environmental safeguards.
He also demanded that the government come up with stringent laws to book people involved in the illegal activity and to bring on board the BSF and Customs to ensure only legal export of limestone is allowed.
On this, the chief minister informed that the government is looking at different technologies that could be adopted in order to ensure the system is tightened up.
"(I admit) we have financial challenges and I think if proper technology, proper administration and all stakeholders would work together I am sure will be able to reduce these kinds of illegal activities that is going on," the chief minister said.
"Technology is something we can use to really look into this aspect and control the illegal mining that is taking place and ensure the revenue that is collected by the state also goes up and our environment is also protected," he added.
According to the chief minister, the Mining department had granted 55 mining leases which include 20 mining leases for limestone and 32 mining leases for boulders and 3 mining leases for granite.
"I assure that provisions of the Meghalaya Minor Minerals Concession Rules, 2016 will continue to be strictly enforced throughout the state," he said.
Apart from this, the department has also granted 103 letters of intent (LoI) for grant of mining leases for limestone and 96 LoI for boulders, he said.

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First Published: Sep 27 2018 | 7:45 PM IST

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