Mukul created hurdles for coal dependants: Conrad

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SHILLONG, March 27: The Chief Minister of Meghalaya and National President of the National People’s party (NPP) Conrad K. Sangma has accused his predecessor, Dr. Mukul Sangma of being lackadaisical during his tenure as Chief Minister, which has greatly affected the people post ban on coal mining in the State.

He said that Dr. Sangma failed to challenge the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order, which created hurdle for the people dependent on coal mining.

Conrad said that ban on coal mining has impacted people in the coal rich areas of the state which has not only affected livelihood but has also led to financial loss for the state.

“In 2014, NGT had banned coal mining in Meghalaya. I ask Dr. Mukul Sangma as to why he failed to challenge the NGT order in the Supreme Court. In 2018, when MDA came to power, the government had to start from scratch and appeal in the Supreme Court. We have engaged with different stakeholders to resolve the ban on coal mining and we are committed to resolve the issue for the greater interest of our people,” said Conrad Sangma, while addressing an election rally at Jadi in South Garo Hills on Tuesday evening.

“NPP challenged the order and is fighting the case in the Supreme Court,” he added, while stating that in 2015, when the central government sought a response from the state government on exemption of Mine and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act from Meghalaya, the then government had failed to respond.

He said that Dr. Sangma had his own interests as he was engaged in monopoly of coal trade in Meghalaya and was least bothered for the interest of the people.

“In 2016, the Ministry of Coal was working on a policy to exempt Meghalaya from MMDR Act and an order was issued to this effect with final approval to be accorded by the Ministry of Home Affairs but the Mukul Sangma government failed to respond to the Ministry of Coal order and the letter was also misplaced. I would like to ask Mukul Sangma, why he failed to address the concerns of the people?”

He further said that if the Mukul Sangma government was sincere and was concerned for the people, the issue would have been resolved. “Now, Congress is making a video against our party (NPP) and is trying to create confusion amongst the people that NPP has failed to resolve the issue but the fact is before the public that we are working with utmost sincerity to start mining again in Meghalaya by addressing environmental and mine safety issues,” he added.