Blaming the National Peoples' Party (NPP)-BJP-led government in Meghalaya for illegal coal mining, former Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma on Monday said that the illegal coal mining started in the state immediately after the NPP-BJP government took power.
"People in power are involved in the illegal coal mining in Meghalaya. The BJP before the 2018 Assembly elections had assured that coal mines would be opened within six months. This indicates the criminal conspiracy hatched by the BJP to open the coal mines illegally," Sangma told newsmen in Guwahati.
"Is it possible to open the coal mining legally within six months? It's evident that they were using the illegal coal mining to come to power. During our time also there were attempts to carry out illegal mining. We raised the issue which led to a ban on mining by the NGT," said Sangma
Sangma said that illegal coal mining had been on in Meghalaya since time immemorial.
"However, after our government came to power in 2010, we have been engaged with the coal mine owners and successfully brought a mining policy considering the complexities of the issue in Meghalaya," he said.
Sangma also blamed Chief Minister Conrad Sangma's government in Meghalaya for the delay in operations to rescue the trapped miners at a coal mine in East Jaintia Hills district and said that the delay indicates insensitivity and incompetence of the government.
"The state government responded to rescue the trapped miners after the government was pulled up by different sections," he said.