Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma today said the State Mining Plan is at its final stage in line with the September 29 deadline set by the National Green Tribunal, but predicted "legal hurdles" for mining of coal in the state in view of the Coal Mines Nationalisation Act, 1973 and the Mines and Minerals Regulation Act, 2015.
"Even if we are able to come up with an alternative draft mining policy which ultimately becomes a real regulatory mechanism and a legal sanction, unless the relevant clauses of these two Acts are addressed, there will still be legal hurdles. Getting all clearances as far as the statutory laws are concerned, will still be a problem," the Chief Minister told the Assembly here.
The ramification of the Coal Mines Nationalisation Act, 1973 and Mines and Minerals Development Regulation (Amendment) Act, 2015 were required to be addressed by invoking of Para 12a(b) of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to allow tribal coal owners to stake claim of their mining rights, he said.
"Therefore, the state government will come with a refined resolution in this House to again take up with the Centre about the various provisions of these two Acts," he said while replying to a call attention motion moved by Hill State People’s Democratic Party member Witting Mawsor.
Terming the issue as "complex," Mukul said "The Coal Mines Nationalisation Act, 1973, has already taken away the rights of people in as far as the ownership over the mines are concerned."
"If the Para 12a(b) is not invoked and presidential notification to that effect is not issued to rescind all those relevant clauses of those Acts, we will still be confronted by this legal hurdle (as these two Acts supersede any other laws)," the Chief Minister said.
"The state government is in a final stage to come up with the draft guidelines, which will meet the requirements in as far as the statutory laws are concerned in respect to coal mining in the state of Meghalaya. We hope to keep the timeline," Mukul said.
The NGT in its recent order has directed the state government to submit the mining plan within September 29.