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October 13, 2020

Meghalaya Assembly session from Nov 5-12

The autumn session of the Meghalaya Assembly would be held from November 5 to 12 in which the Opposition is likely to raise the alleged issue of illegal coal trade continuing in the State.

In all, there would be just five sittings of the House in which two days are reserved for Private Members business and three for Government-related businesses. In between, there are three holidays two days (Saturday and Sunday) and one day is a state holiday on account of Wangala Dance.

The Opposition Congress has raised the issue of illegal coal transportation before the media and has demanded an independent probe into the allegations. Opposition leader Mukul Sangma said that a cartel behind this illegal trade is out there to loot from the State exchequer.

Coal mining is banned in Meghalaya, but the extracted coal is allowed to be auctioned by the NGT. However, there are reports of coal mining still being carried out clandestinely.

The NPP-led Government has strongly refuted the allegations. Some of its alliance partners like the BJP have gone a step further and demanded that the CM’s elder brother and Cabinet Minister, James Sangma’s alleged involvement with the cartel be probed.

Other alliance partners had earlier put pressure on the Government and that compelled the CM to strip Sangma off his Home portfolio and allot it to Lakhmen Rymbui.

Earlier, the brother of Social Welfare Minister Kyrmen Shylla got anticipatory bail in a case involving transportation of coal illegally from East Jaintia Hills district. Four others were arrested in the case.

One of the biggest expose of the illegal coal mining racket in the State is the fact that several miners drowned in a rate-hole coal mine in Ksan, East Jaintia Hills district in December 2018. The mine was being operated illegally despite a ban ordered by the National Green Tribunal on coal mining activities.

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