Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma on March 16 said scientific coal mining will start within this year.
“I cannot give assurance in the house, but we do expect in the best-case scenario that within this year anything between six to eight months’ time, a few of them will start getting approval for the mining plan and that they should be able to start the mining activities very soon,” Sangma said while replying to a query raised by Nongpoh legislator Mayralborn Syiem in the assembly.
At present, there were 17 applicants who have submitted their applications for grant of prospecting license for coal and all have received approval from the central government and they are now in the exploration stage for generating geological reports before obtaining mining leases, he said.
Stating that it will be a process that will start slow as it is happening for the first time, Sangma said, “Therefore, it will be learning for everyone not only for the landowners, the miners but also for the government agencies.”
“While we do that, we may face a bit of delay in the first few cases but as we move forward and we are able to streamline the process, people start getting used to it, I hope that we will see more applications coming in and more scientific mining and that is where we will see more of the revenue may also grow up exponentially and we may reach the royalty and non-tax revenue of the government at the same level where it used to be before we had the ban on coal mining in the state. (Therefore), we expect that we will see some activities in this calendar year,” he added.
The chief minister also informed that multiple awareness programmes for miners were held in the different coal-rich districts of the state.
“We are providing support hand-holding in every step and we will continue to give training and based on that we are seeing the number of applications,” he said.
Earlier, Sangma said in order to raise the state’s own tax revenue through scientific coal mining state government has notified Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for grant of prospecting license or mining lease for sustainable and scientific coal mining in the state dated March 5, 2021, along with an office memorandum for applying to the director of mineral resources to undertake prospecting operating for coal under the provisions of the second proviso to sub-section (1) of section 4 of the MMDR, Act, 1957.