SHILLONG, Oct 26: The Leader of the Opposition in Meghalaya, Dr. Mukul Sangma has accused the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance of facilitating illegal coal mining while claiming that this is being done through the frequent transfer of officers.
“If you look at the manner in which the government has acted, there is a reason to believe that they were trying to pressurize the officers to engage in facilitating illegal mining,” Dr. Sangma had said here on Friday.
He alleged that after the government had removed the director of Mining & Geology and posted one officer, who was also serving as a mining & geology joint secretary and also MD of the Meghalaya Mineral Development Corporation Limited (MMDC).
“Subsequently, this officer was also shunted out and somebody else was brought in. Now what is the reason, why the second officer was again transferred within a short period of time?” Dr. Sangma quipped.
Calling for a proper investigation into the issue, Dr. Sangma said, “Has anything happened because of the pressure from the people who are in power, the ministers, because please remember mining and geology is also being held by the Chief Minister himself so therefore there is need to find out what has happened after the removal and transfer of the second director who was posted and what is still happening.”
Dr. Sangma also said that in as far as the quantity of the coal which is based on the assessment legally done is concerned, these figures are available with the government as it has to file an affidavit before the Supreme Court whenever extension of time is sought for transportation of coal.
“So there is already a figure available with the government and this figure is also already available with the Supreme Court and NGT. But how can this figure keep on changing that is the issue,” he stated.
According to him, they cannot keep on changing this figure as the affidavit has been filed by the government on the basis of the information collected from all the respected deputy commissioners.
“How can this figure keep on changing and how can there be a directive official and unofficial formally and informally by the people in government to the deputy commissioners that you assess and give some more assessment reports? This is what is happening,” he said.
Stating that the government’s intent is very wrong, the former chief minister said this intent will ultimately lead to facilitation of illegal mining even as he urged the government to restrain from this activity, which he termed as illegal.
Dr. Sangma said that the present state government had generated a lot of expectations by making false promises before the Assembly elections that if they are voted to power within six months they will ensure the NGT ban on coal mining is lifted.
“But after the formation of this government, now there has been reaction from people including some of the NGOs who have gone to the Supreme Court seeking intervention into the allegations that illegal mining of coal is taking place in the state,” he stated.