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Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma on March 10 informed the state assembly that the Supreme Court has lifted the ban imposed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on coal mining in the state.

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“We were committed to lifting the NGT ban, and within one year and three months, we were able to lift the ban. Coal mining is no longer banned. The Supreme Court has lifted the ban,” Sangma said in the course of his reply to the discussion on the governor’s address.

Sangma said that the central government has also given its approval to the Meghalaya government to issue mining lease to private miners.

“It is for the first time in India, that mining leases were auctioned out by the Government of India but now, through standard operating procedure finalised, private mines can be leased out,” he informed the assembly.

“Land and minerals belong to the people and this was recognised by the Government of India. This SOP will enable us to shorten the process of getting the license. The entire process will be streamlined with this SOP. It will open the gate for legal mining in the state,” the chief minister further informed.

In this regard, he said 20 people have applied for prospecting licenses. “We have opened the gate for scientific and legal mining in the state,” he added.

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The chief minister said standard operating procedures have been framed to start scientific and legal coal mining in the state as per the direction of the Supreme Court.

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