Coal production and maintenance of post excavated areas in Meghalaya

New Delhi : The estimated coal resources in Meghalaya, as per Coal Inventory of India published by Geology Survey of India (GSI) as on 01.04.2021 is 576.48 MT.

As per information received from Coal Controller Organization (CCO), no coal production has been reported during last 4 years from the State of Meghalaya.

The Hon’ble National Green Tribunal, in its order dated 09.06.2014, has noticed that there has been serious air, water and environmental pollution being caused by the illegal, unregulated and indiscriminate rat-hole mining being carried on in various parts of the State of Meghalaya.

In order to preserve the ecology of Meghalaya, Hon’ble Supreme Court in its judgment dated 3.7.2019, has made the following decisions:

  1. The provisions of The Mines Act, 1952 are mandatorily to be followed before working a mine. The regulations namely Coal Mines Regulations, 2017 also contains several regulatory provisions which need to be followed while working a mine by a mining lease holder.
  2. The enforcement of Mines Act, 1952 and the Regulations, 2017 have to be ensured by the State in the public interest.
  3. As per statutory regime brought in force by notification dated 15.01.2016 issued under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, environmental clearance is required for a project of coal for mining of any extent of area. While implementing statutory regime for carrying mining operations in the Hills Districts of the State of Meghalaya, the State of Meghalaya has to ensure compliance of not only MMDR Act, 1957 but Mines Act, 1952 as well as Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  4. In Hill Districts of State of Meghalaya for carrying coal mining operations in privately owned/community owned land, it is not the State Government which shall grant the mining lease under Chapter V of Rules, 1960, but it is the private owner/community owner of the land, who is also the owner of the mineral, who shall grant lease for mining of coal as per provisions of Chapter V of Rules, 1960 after obtaining previous approval of the Central Government through the State Government.

The State Government has been implementing an action plan prepared by the Committee constituted by the Hon’ble National Green Tribunal and approved by the Hon’ble NGT, to close down the openings of mines which were created before the ban imposed by Hon’ble NGT in 2014 and is putting in place the safety measures around mine openings where there is still mineable coal reserves which can be utilized in future in accordance with law.

Central Government has not done any social auditing in the state of Meghalaya.

This information was given by the Union Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Shri Pralhad Joshi in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.

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