SHILLONG, March 06: The export of limestone from Meghalaya will be carried out in accordance with the prescribed Acts and Rules according to the Chief Minister, Dr. Mukul Sangma who informed the House that there is no ban on the same.
“There is no stoppage of export of limestone from the state provided the Acts and Rules are followed and adhered to,” Dr. Sangma told the Assembly while replying during the Question Hour here on Monday.
The opposition political parties have expressed concern that due to stoppage of export of limestone a large number of people have to suffer a lot especially those solely depending on mining activities for their livelihood.
While seeking clarification on the measures being taken by the state government to ensure uninterrupted export of limestone, Opposition Leader Donkupar Roy suggested the need to allow transportation of already extracted limestone.
To this, the Chief Minister said that exercise has been resorted to in as far as the available stocks are concerned to ensure whatever stocks declared to have been available in their respective mines are allowed to be exported as per Acts and Rules.
He also informed that whatever is required to ensure simpler mechanism is in place to facilitate mining activities has already been done.
“We will also still explore all the available measures to further simplify the system within the mandate of the law because our intention is to ensure that whatever livelihood activities followed for years and generations do not get dislocated,” he added.
Dr. Sangma said that the government has taken various measures to regulate mining of minor minerals including limestone in pursuant to the directions of the Meghalaya High Court issued on June, 2015 and November 2015 in a writ petition filed by Tangkham Sangma and the review petition filed by the state government.
According to him, a notification of the Meghalaya Minor Minerals Concession Rules, 2016 for granting mining lease and quarry permit for extraction of limestone and other minerals was issued on September last year.
Another notification in November, last year was also issued authorizing Divisional Forest Officers (Territorial) as Competent Authority in their respective jurisdiction to grant mining lease and quarry permit upto an area of 5 hectares for minor minerals under Schedule III of the Meghalaya Minor Minerals Concession Rules, 2016.
For granting of environmental clearance in case of mining lease and quarry upto an area of 5 hectares, he said the state government has constituted District Environment Impact Assessment Authority (DEIAA) and District Expert Appraisal Committee (DEAC) last year.
He added that for approval of mining plan in respect of minor minerals, a Committee under the Director of Mineral Resources with members from the Forest & Environment Department was also constituted.
Urging the miners to take advantage of the measures, Dr. Sangma said that the issue is related to allowing mining and transportation of minor minerals and the government will further make the system simpler to assist them.
Earlier, HSPDP chief Ardent M Basaiawmoit alleged that it was a violation of the Constitution and Human Rights where the right to life was denied to those people who have solely depend their livelihood on mining activities.
Reacting to this, the chief minister said that judiciary has intervened because the visible action on the ground was not being adhered to as per the relevant Acts and Rules.