Allies in Meghalaya’s ruling coalition miffed over illegal coal mining, transportation

Health Minister AL Hek said some constituents of the MDA are miffed over Home Minister James Sangma’s failure to stop illegal mining and transportation of coal. James is CM Conrad Sangma's brother.

Published: 08th February 2020 05:38 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th February 2020 05:38 PM   |  A+A-

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma. (File Photo)

By Express News Service

GUWAHATI: Discontentment is brewing within the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) as the state government has failed to stop the illegal mining and transportation of coal.

Health Minister AL Hek, who is from the BJP, told journalists that some constituents of the MDA, which is headed by the National People’s Party, are miffed over Home Minister James Sangma’s failure to stop the illegal mining and transportation of coal.

He said almost all Cabinet ministers sought the sacking of James Sangma or a reshuffle of portfolios. It is unprecedented in Meghalaya that unhappiness within the ruling coalition was discussed at a Cabinet meeting, he said. James is Chief Minister Conrad Sangma’s brother.

James Sangma and Transport Minister Sniawbhalang Dhar are at the receiving end as there have been allegations galore about corruption in the illegal mining and transportation of coal. Earlier, the Lokayukta ordered a CBI probe into the allegations of corruption.

Meanwhile, the state’s Directorate of Mineral Resources (DMR) said it would conduct an orientation and sensitisation programme for coal mine owners in East Jaintia Hills on February 17 towards granting of mining lease under scientific coal mining plan according to Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960.

“The whole idea behind the programme is to facilitate systematic, safe, scientific and planned utilisation of mineral resources and to streamline the state’s mineral-based development,” a DMR official said.

Two years ago, at least 15 miners were killed in East Jaintia Hills after they had got trapped in a rat-hole coal mine due to flooding.

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