By Our Correspondent
Shillong, Dec 13, 2017: While justifying the decision to hand over mining of coal to the Meghalaya Mineral Development Corporation Limited (MMDCL), Chief Minister, Dr Mukul Sangma said that the mine owners would greatly benefit with this decision of the Government.
"Under the new proposal, the MMDCL would invest in the coal mines of the local mine owners and thereafter tender would be called upon and mining would be undertaken. The profit will then be shared between the coal miners and the MMDCL," Chief Minister said while replying to the call attention motion raised by suspended Congress legislator, PN Syiem in the Assembly on Wednesday.
While further justifying the proposal to allow MMDCL to proceed with mining in the State, he said that the MMDCL can enter into an agreement with the land owners who also have the ownership over the mines to carry out mining adding that as per the agreed terms and conditions of the agreement with the MMDCL, the land owners as per tradition also have the right to mine and this benefit will be passed on to the miners.
Giving more details of the proposal, Chief Minister said that the MMDCL would take a marginal profit of 20 to 25 percent, unlike the present scenario where middlemen and investors from outside the State are taking the maximum profit and local coal owners have become victims of such dubious practices.
He said that the Government at the same time is trying to persuade the Central Government to amend para 12 A of the sixth schedule of the Constitution to exempt Meghalaya from the purview of Central legislation adding that the matter is being looked into by a committee.
"We should allow the proposal of allowing the MMDC to take up mining of coal in the State until the Centre agrees to the request of the State Government to amend para 12 A," the Chief Minister stated.
The Chief Minister also read out a letter written in 1985 in which the Central Government had urged the State Government to try doing away with middlemen. He said that the MMDC would be an agency of the people and run by the Government and would function in a transparent manner and do away with middlemen.
Referring to the letter of Vasant Sathe that was addressed to the Meghalaya Government in 1987, Dr Mukul said that the letter has an advisory that Meghalaya Government may utilise the services of Coal India and MMDC to facilitate scientific mining keeping in mind the need to do mining in conformity with the statutory laws in respect of environment, safety and health.
He further assured the House, that the MMDC would reclaim the land after the minerals are extracted and the land would return to the land owners and there is no question of alienation of their land.
Earlier, while raising the call attention motion, suspended Congress legislator, Pynshngain N Syiem said that he failed to understand how the Government can go ahead with this proposal without getting the approval of the mine owner.
"Before deciding to go ahead with this proposal, the Government should understand that land mines and minerals belong to the people not like in other States where land mines and minerals belong to the Government," Syiem added.