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Expert agencies to come with best options to restart coal

PTI | Shillong | Updated: 04-08-2019 20:09 IST | Created: 04-08-2019 20:09 IST
Expert agencies to come with best options to restart coal

Meghalaya government has asked two expert agencies to come up with the 'best options' to restart safe and scientific coal mining in the state. The two expert agencies - Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI) and Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited (MECL) - are on the job, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said.

He said the expert agencies have been entrusted with the task to come up with a model which is feasible to the state. "They will place before the government as to what is best option or simplest option for restarting coal mining in the state," he told PTI on Sunday.

The deputy chief minister said that in 2014-15, expert agencies have conducted a study and submitted a report to the Central ministries that mechanised or open cast mining in Meghalaya is not at all feasible and this matter has been closed. Meanwhile, a committee of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) committee had asked the state government to explore the possibility of introducing the 'high wall mining method' for extracting coal in the state.

The high wall mining is practiced in the US and other developed nations using less human interventions especially in unsafe environments. The committee headed by retired Justice BP Katakey was of the opinion that introduction of 'high wall mining method' is the only alternative to unscientific rat-hole mining of coal in Meghalaya.

"This method if implemented would no longer require engaging manpower since machines will be used for extracting the coal," Katakey had told the government officials recently. The Supreme Court on July 3 directed the Meghalaya government to deposit the Rs 100 crore fine imposed on it by the NGT for failing to curb illegal coal mining with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

The apex court also allowed the mining operation to go on in the state on the privately and community owned land subject to the permissions from the concerned authorities..


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