Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma on August 25 questioned the legislators of opposition Trinamool Congress (TMC) as to what action had they taken against the illegal coal mining when they were leading government in the state as members of the Congress party, which they had later deserted.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had in April 2014 banned the hazardous and unscientific rat-hole coal mining in Meghalaya, even as the high court is hearing a PIL into the alleged illegal mining and transportation of coal in the state.
“There is no question of facilitating.. it was during the opposition time when there was no action taken against these,” the chief minister told reporters.
CM Conrad Sangma said that it was only when the National People’s Party (NPP)-led MDA government came to power in Meghalaya that it imposed the MMDR, Act (Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act,).
“We made it more strict and stringent for anybody who is involved in any kind of illegal activities. Hundreds of cases have been filed and action has been taken against hundreds of people and lot of people have been arrested,” he pointed out.
“So, one cannot simply point a finger and one has to realize what are the things that they (TMC) did not do during their time before starting pointing fingers at us,” the chief minister asserted.
On the recent coal mine collapse leading to the death of one miner and injury to another at Urak, Riangdim in West Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya, Sangma said that the mine was way inside where vehicles’ accessibility is not there and it takes about two days on foot to get to the location.
“Therefore, for administration or for any officers to reach to this location is monstrous and physically is next to impossible. One has to understand those areas,” he pointed out.
He, however, asserted that there is a rule of law and the entire system is there to catch anybody and take action against any illegal activity.