Meghalaya Elections: ‘Mining issue to be resolved within 180 days of forming govt’ – BJP


By Our Reporter, TNT News | Shillong, February 15, 2018

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday claimed that if voted to power, the party will resolve and put back on track the coal mining issue in 180 days of forming of the government in poll-bound Meghalaya.

"Mining is an important activity linked to livelihood of so many people in Jaintia and Garo hills of Meghalaya. We as  a party has always said that mining should be done in a manner also keeping in mind the environment," BJP national spokesperson, Nalin Kohli said.

Kohli made this statement in regards to one of the points highlighted in the 17-page Vision Document of the party which was released by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Shillong on Thursday in the presence of chairman of the party election campaign committee, AL Hek, Union tourism minister K J Alphons and state president Shibun Lyngdoh among others.

"In the case of Meghalaya, the government here has not been able to address the issue. It has ignored the issue and allow the issue to go out of hand. This shows the lack of concern, seriousness and commitment to solve this problem in a manner that works for all stakeholders. when we say we will  bring it back on track, it means approaching it in a manner that is correct and see what is legally possible within the policy, rules so that people's livelihood does not remained challenged for a long period of time," Kohli said.

Stating that Meghalaya is unique in terms of its coal mining, the BJP spokesperson said in the state, the traditional rat hole mining is done and it is important to understand that many of the seams are small and may not permit to do large scale scientific mining. So the question arise… Can it be done in a community manner involving stakeholders?"  he questioned adding that what the state government did at the last hour reflects its unwillingness to bring about a mining policy.

"Instead of making efforts before the NGT, the government expressed its intention to assign the Meghalaya Mineral Development Corporation to do it," he said.

It may be mentioned that mining of coal in Meghalaya has been banned by the National Green Tribunal since April 2014.

Amidst 10 major issues that the party highlights in the 17 pager, it asserts of resolving the mining issue within 180 days of forming the government.

The vision document of BJP also highlighted 10 major issues –

1. Housing for all with pukka roof
2. One job opportunity to every youth
3. Tapped and safe drinking water to every household
4. Pukka roads to connect every village in Meghalaya with the district headquarters
5. 24X7 electricity to every household
6. Employment to 2 lakh youth in the tourism industry
7. Resolution of mining issue within 180 days of forming the government
8. One packet of sanitary napkin to all women from BPL households
9. More government schools with trained teachers for every child to have access to education
10. More agricultural markets, including agri-markets for women

Addressing the media, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the time for change in Meghalaya has come while stating that for the past 10 years, the state has not seen any major development despite the fact that the Congress was in power both at the state and the centre.

Furthermore, she stated that