With the stage set for scientific mining in the state, a section of the small time miners and a social organisation feel that small time miners will be at a loss.

There is a notification of the Mining and Geology department which mentions that an application for prospecting license shall be for an area of not less than 100 hectares.

Speaking to The Meghalayan on Thursday, president of Jaintia Hills Public Coal Miners, Dealers and Suppliers association Reginald Shylla said that he has petitioned the High Court on April 27, 2023 to allow the small time miners to continue mining.

He told this reporter over the phone, “We are not against the need to have 100 hectares of land for mining, but I feel that those miners who have 1 acre-2 acre of land that has coal reserves should be allowed to mine. The government has snatched the rights of small miners.”

Welcoming scientific mining in the state, he said that scientific mining will benefit the environment but having 100 hectares of land is impossible for small miners.

The East Jaintia National Council (EJNC) president Sambormi Lyngdoh said that they will send a memorandum to the chief minister Conrad Sangma on Friday after the felicitation programme at Khliehriat.

It may be mentioned that the project proponents (mining lease holder for coal) will hold a felicitation programme in recognition of the state government’s efforts to initiate scientific mining in the state of Meghalaya.

Echoing Shylla, he said that only big miners will gain from scientific mining on account of possessing 100 acres of land.

Lyngdoh also pointed to the condition where companies make an agreement with landowner and applicant asserting that the government is not clear on the matter.

Recently, the Chief Minister Conrad Sangma informed that the process of scientific mining is expected to start within the next 60 days as the final paperwork is done and the final documentation is left.

He announced that the government of India finally approved the mining lease for four miners.

State revenue

Rajya Sabha MP W.R. Kharlukhi felt that the state will be getting the much needed revenue once scientific mining starts.

“I am very happy, at least I know that it will help our people a lot because coal is not only for the rich but it will serve the poor people of the society,” he said.

As far as those who oppose mining in 100 hectares of land, he said, “I do not know….whatever we get there will always be an opposition but I feel we should try first. We will see that at least mining is open.”