Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Monday informed the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly that 95 persons were arrested in connection with illegal mining and transportation of coal in the state.
Replying to a query raised by West Shillong legislator Mohendro Rapsang in the Assembly, Sangma also informed that 140 of 250 cases have so far been charge-sheeted.
The chief minister said that all actions are being taken to ensure such illegal activities are stopped.
“In fact, the state government has also for the first time enforced the provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Act, 1957 which was not done earlier”, he said.
According to him, persons found involved are liable to five years imprisonment and pay fine of up to Rs 5 lakh.
Rapsang wanted to know if it is a fact that the Union government has officially denied any illegality in coal mining and transportation in the state based on the state government’s inputs.
To this, the chief minister informed that based on inputs provided by the state government, the Union government has given reply to Unstarred Question No 656 in Rajya Sabha.
He said the state government has taken following measures to stop illegal coal mining to ensure no illegal mining of coal takes place in the state.
“Strict instructions have been passed to Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police to control illegal coal mining and enforce a ban imposed by the National Green Tribunal,” he said.
“The government has been issuing prohibitory orders to stop illegal coal mining from time to time,” Sangma added.
The chief minister then informed the state government has enforced provisions of MMDR Act, 1957 and cases are being registered under section 21 of the Act against illegal coal mining.
Sangma also added that the authorized officers have been notified by the government under section 21 (4) of the MMDR Act, 1957 for seizing any mineral which has been mined or transported unlawfully along with vehicles, tools and equipment.
In exercise of power conferred under section 22 of the Act, officers are authorized to make written complaints before the court for offences punishable under said Act.