Burning Issue August 2010

August 4, 2010 at 6:40 pm (Uncategorized)

SC hearing on illegal mining
Shillong Times 31-08-10
From Our Correspondent

JOWAI: The Supreme Court will hear the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against illegal mining in Meghalaya on September 1. Members of the Khliehriat Sub-Division Coal Miners and Welfare Association (KSDCMWA) including its president, secretary and the adviser are already camping in New Delhi to present themselves in the hearing fixed by the Supreme Court.

“As of now, we cannot say anything and we only hope for a positive judgement after hearing,” KSDCMWA secretary Balios Swer said over phone from New Delhi on Monday.

It may be mentioned that the Meghalaya Adventurers’ Association (MAA) had filed the PIL in the Supreme Court against the rampant mining activities in the State, which was threatening the existing cave systems in Meghalaya.

The KSDCMWA challenged the PIL following which the apex court fixed the date for the hearing. The PIL also implicates the State Government which is yet implement the State Mining policy.

Forum appreciates government initiative in framing state mining policy

Eastern Chronicle

SHILLONG, August, 29: Coal and Limestone quarries owners and miners under the banner of the Joint Forum on Mining Policy met Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma and Deputy Chief Minister Bindo M Lanong-who also hold the portfolio of mining and expressed their happiness over the state government’s seriousness to put in place a mining police for Meghalaya.

The forum has submitted a memorandum to the government last year on framing of the mining policy.

The Forum comprising of the landowners and miners from six districts of the state- East, West & South Garo Hills, East and West Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills- under its president Honsen Lyngdoh and General Secretary Almeric Sohkhlet met Lanong on Friday and expressed their optimism of the government’s desire to put in place the mining policy at the earliest.

Emerging out of the meeting with Dr. Sangma and Lanong, Lyngdoh and Sohkhlet said: “we are happy that government is taking keen interest in framing the state policy and it sounds serious about the policy.”

The Supreme Court will soon hear the entire environment issue in the country. The hearing of the apex court on the environmental issue is likely to take place early next month. During the hearing, the mining methods of both coal and limestone in Meghalaya are also expected to figure.

However, the coal and limestone quarries owners and miners are quite confident that the apex court ruling towards mining might be more in their favour. They also said that Lanong has promised them to call them by the Sept. 10 for the review of the draft policy.

HC asks Govt to order CBI probe
NH extortion
Shillong Times 28-08-10
By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: The truckers’ organizations fighting against “government-sponsored extortion” on highways had a huge moral victory as the Shillong Bench of the Gauhati High Court has ordered the State Government to ask for a CBI probe into the truckers’ charges.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, president of the All North East Commercial Truck Owners’ and Operators’ Association (ANECTOOA), A Shanpru, said, “The High Court on Thursday issued a notice to the State Government for conducting a CBI inquiry into the extortion reports along the NH-62.”

When asked, an elated Shanpru said, “We welcome the court verdict and would wait for the government’s response before deciding our future course of action.”

The Association had earlier filed a writ petition in the court demanding a CBI inquiry into the illegal toll collection along the highways.

The Association had moved the court after their demand for a CBI probe was turned down by Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma stating that the Central investigation agency should come into picture only after the State machinery failed in its job.

The truckers also apprised Union Home Minister P Chidambaram among other Central leaders of their grievances and sought a CBI probe into the “highway extortion”.

There were reports about the leaders in the Congress-led MUA Government being pulled up over the issue by the party high command, which were, of course, outrightly rejected by the State unit of the party.

Over 10 illegal stone crushers closed at Killing, Umduba

Meghalaya Times

Written by the Editor
Thursday, 26 August 2010 05:40

Staff Reporter
Nongpoh, Aug. 25:
The Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP) of Themmarwet Baridua on Wednesday conducted a surprise inspection to check trading and labour licenses of stone crushers allegedly illegally run by non-locals in Killing and Umdaba village, Ri Bhoi.

During the inspection, the federation said that none of the labourers could produce the required licenses including NOCs issued by the headmen of the two villages, prompting it to close all illegal crushers in Killing and Umduba.

The federation’s Themmarwet Baridua president, James Nongrum, speaking with the media said that many stone crushers also employ children under the age of 15, prohibited under the Child Labour Act.

The FKJGP has slammed the KHADC and the state Labour Department for failing to keep a check on illegal stone crushers and labourers in the state

Conservationists honoured in Garo Hills
Shillong Times

By Our Reporter

Shillong: Asith and Lambu Sangma of Baghmara have been awarded with “Wildlife Conservation Award 2010” for their effortless contribution towards wildlife rescue and conservation on August 19th, 2010.

Both the awardees were honoured by Deputy Commissioner of South Garo Hills in a function organized in Baghmara.

Samrakshan Trust has introduced this Wildlife Conservation Award for wildlife enthusiasm individual in Garo Hills on organization’s tenth year foundation day celebration.

This award will be an annual event to appreciating locals for wildlife conservation effort. Asith and Lambu had rescued many wildlife species including species protected under schedule I of WPA found as pet in and around Baghmara for last several months.

Even Asith rescued an Indian Flapshell Turtle from Baghmara market on the day of award function and released it back to the Simsang River after its proper check up.

Both the awardees were honoured during Samrakshan’s Tenth Year Foundation Day Celebration in Baghmara. There is also a wildlife photo exhibition organized during the programme showcasing natural beauty and values of the region.

“Wildlife hunting and pet keeping is a serious offence punishable under law and forest department will take strong action if someone found to be violating the same. We will straight book cases under WPA if anyone proved as wildlife hunter, wildlife trader or keeping wildlife as pet.” said divisional forest officer of Balpakram NP division attending the function as guest of honour.

Even he appreciated Samrakshan’s wildlife rescue programme and habitat protection work around Balpakram National Park.

Other officers from Tourism Department, Industries, educational institutions and citizen from Baghmara and Tura took part at the programme and share their views on nature conservation.

“Habitat lose is a major cause of concern and current fashion of monoculture plantation has been causing massive habitat defragmentation in our landscape. We should ensure proper land use planning of considering all ecological factors into our future developmental action in the landscape.” said Dr. BDR Tiwari, DC, South Garo Hills during his speech at the function.

“Unscientific and illegal mining is also causing serious threat to our forest and wildlife which need to be arrested in the earliest” he added. DC was the chief guest.

Mining draft to be ready next month
The Shillong Times

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: The much-delayed draft of the State Mining Policy will be ready by next month, Deputy Chief Minister Bindo M Lanong in-charge Mining and Geology Department said on Friday. The Mining Policy is expected to regulate mining activities, especially coal and limestone mining, and also conserve the fast-depleting forest cover in the mineral-rich areas. Speaking to reporters, Lanong said draft of the policy is in the final stage and likely to be completed by next month. After completion of the draft, a meeting of its various stakeholders and NGOs would be called to discuss the different aspects of the policy.

Earlier, the Government had called for suggestions and opinions from different quarters for making the policy more effective and acceptable.

Many NGOs and land owners have been skeptic over the proposed Mining Policy as they think it would lead to curtail of rights of the indigenous people.

Once the meeting of stakeholders gives its go ahead to the draft policy, it would be submitted in the Cabinet for its approval, the minister said.

The draft of the Mining Policy proposes that no mining should take place in forest land and that the miners should adhere to all environmental norms to ensure that there is no destruction to the surroundings of the mining area.

Addressing concerns of environmentalists, Lanong assured that the policy would help preserve the unique cave systems abundant in the State.

The draft policy proposes to ban mining activities within several kilometers of any cave system, he said.

The minister strongly reacted to a query whether the mining policy was to facilitate uranium mining, saying, “People should not listen to fools.”

“If we can have sports and other policies, why not a mining policy,” Lanong added.

State to adopt US model of high-wall mining
The Shillong Times
By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: The State Government will soon introduce high-wall mining technology in the State.

Earlier, the MPA Government had deputed a team of Ministers and officials to visit USA in 2008 for a firsthand study of this technology, informed a senior official of the Industries department.

The study report submitted by the team finds the technology feasible in Meghalaya. One area of concern, however, is the investment on this technology which is very high.

The Government has, therefore, proposed to implement the model on Public Private Participation (PPP) model.

The official informed that the prime objectives of the High-wall mining are to prevent unnecessary or excessive mining so as to reduce the impact on the environment. The Meghalaya Minerals Development Corporation (MMDC) had sought expert assistance after getting the approval of the Government.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), followed by a Joint Venture Agreement was executed with Mahacol Trexim Pvt. Ltd., on April 8 this year in the name and style of “Meghalaya Mahacol Miners Private Limited “(MMMPL).

The Joint Venture Company (JVC) is to have an initial authorised share capital of Rs one crore which may be enhanced from time to time. The paid up share capital initially shall be contributed in the ratio of 90:10 with MTPL putting in the larger share and MMDC being the 10 per cent shareholder.

But it is learnt that MMDC is unable to arrange funds for their share of equity in the JVC. Hence it was agreed that MTPL would arrange an interest free loan to MMDC for funding their share of the required equity. This loan would be refunded by MMDC from the dividends it receives from the JVC. Fifty per cent of the dividend would be adjusted against refund of loan.

The agreement states that MMDC has an option to increase its equity in the JVC up to a maximum of 20 per cent. The purchase of these shares would be on mutually agreed terms at a fair valuation of the shares (made by an independent valuer) being held by MTPL. However, MMDC should exercise this right within 10 years from the date of incorporation of the company.

Following that the MMDC would have to subscribe to any enhanced capital from their own resources without any financial assistance from MTPL.

The objectives of the JVC are to identify potential mine blocks and prospective coal reserves, to assess the coal reserves of such blocks and prepare an inventory, to prepare requisite surveys and mine plans and determine the manner and extent of mining of coal in the same, to determine the best technology for safe and optimum mining in respect of coal blocks or mines to ensure minimal impact on environment, to obtain requisite mining rights, complying with the requisite mining activity in property or mines leased or purchase by the JVC, marketing or selling of coal mined and implementing coal mining projects and operating captive coal mines through the JVC agreement.

The JVC-MMMPL will have seven directors of which MTPL has the right to nominate five and MMDC two. The JVC was incorporated on July 1 this year. The first board meeting was held on July 14 2010.

To implement the pilot project of High-wall Mining Technology, the MMMPL is looking for a coal block in West Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya.

Besides, MMMPL are collecting data on boreholes conducted by concerned state/central government departments. MMMPL has also engaged two geologists to collect data and carry out surveys on coal mines in Meghalaya. Exploratory work is to start soon immediately after the monsoons are over.

Restraining order on illegal mining
The Shillong Tines
From Our Correspondent
JOWAI: The Additional Deputy Commissioner, in-charge Khliehriat passed a restraining order directing two mine owners in Deinshalu village to immediately stop extracting coal from their mines.

The village authorities lodged several complaints with the SDO, Khliehriat, in-charge of Ladrymbai Police Beat House the Deputy Commissioner against illegal mining activities in the village.

According to a recent complaint, the Dorbar Shnong of Deinshalu informed that Diwi Lyngdoh and Beautiful Dkhar both residents of Rymbai village, own a paddy field at Deinshalu where they have been conducting mining activities despite strong objection from the village authorities.

Petition filed against illegal coal mining

Meghalaya Times

Written by the Editor
Thursday, 05 August 2010 04:44

Staff Reporter
Jowai, Aug. 04: A petition was on Wednesday filed with the Jaintia Hills deputy commissioner and the district’s superintendent of police by the office of the Dorbar Chnong Dienshalalu against illegal mining of coal at the village of Dienshalalu and the alleged use of explosives by Diwi Lyngdoh and Beautiful Dkhar, residents of Rymbai village.

The dorbar had written to the officer in-charge of Lad Rymbai police outpost requesting him to stop the act of using explosives as it went against the resolution of the Dorbar Chnong taken on January 21, 2000, endangering the lives and property of the residents and damaging the environment within the village.
The office of the Khliehriat sub-divisional officer (Civil) had reacted promptly by directing the two parties to cease their illegal mining in Dienshalalu as per the order of the office bearing No.KSd/GENL.47/87-05/2008317 dated Khliehriat July 29, 2010.
The OC of Lad Rymbai police outpost had inspected the site where the illegal coal mining was carried out on July 31 last. He then instructed the dorbar to decide upon the matter and inform him of its decision before August 4, 2010.
The dorbar thereby held a meeting on July 31 and the resolution was later submitted to the OC of Lad Rymbai on August 2.
The petition has also alleged that Lyngdoh and Dkhar had stopped their mining after the order passed by the Khliehriat sub-divisional officer (Civil) but ‘made it clear’ that they would again continue their illegal activities soon, ‘making sure’ that they would not be stopped.
The dorbar has requested the deputy commissioner and the superintendent of police to take prompt action against the duo in the event of violation of the order.

Anti-mining forum to hold awareness drive

The Shillong Times 04-08-10

From Our Correspondent

TURA: The Garo Hills Anti-Mining Forum recently held a meeting at Dalu wherein it was agreed upon to undertake a major awareness drive after the monsoon season in various coal mining effected areas. Focus would be made to highlight the serious negative impact of unscientific coal mining which threatens the environment, health and social life of the people.

The forum has also renamed itself as the Garo Hills Anti-Mining and Conservation Forum with the objective to conserve the natural heritage of the region.

The forum is also appointing a legal adviser and has set up a monitoring committee to oversee the fresh coal and limestone mining in the Garo Hills. The members of the monitoring committee are Ardindon Ch Momin of TGCSU as chief monitoring secretary with Parpen D Marak of FAF monitoring secretary for Rongara block, Greneth M Sangma (GSU) for Baghmara block and Sengmen N Sangma (GSU) for Gasuapara block.

To spread the message of conservation to all sections of society the forum is coming out with its very own logo and motto along with a T-shirt in light green color that shall have a conservation message on it.

The forum is a conglomeration of organizations and citizens against illegal private mining and all major student and social organizations are active member of it.


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