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Congress threatens the Meghalaya government over illegal coal mining

SHILLONG: The opposition Congress on Saturday threatened that if the Meghalaya government does not come out clean on the allegations of illegal coal mining and transportation of coal, then it would be compelled to file an FIR and go to the court if needed.

“If we have to file an FIR we will do so and if we have to go to court we will not hesitate to do so because the guilty should be booked as this is a case of benefitting only one or two families while the exchequer and the state is losing revenue,” the opposition Congress MLA from Mawryngkneng David Nongrum said.

“We have evidence with us and if the government does not come clean we will have to expose them. The police does not have to search for evidence; we will provide it to them and they will have to verify it.” He further added.

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Recalling that the leader of the opposition, Dr Mukul Sangma in the recently concluded Assembly session had suggested that if the chief minister is willing to accompany him to go on a field verification as to whether the 1.41,000 MT of coal still exists or not, Nongrum said, “I don’t know why the government is shying away from the matter and even during the just concluded autumn session of the Assembly the chief minister chose not to reply to the opposition charges. The leader of the opposition, Mukul Sangma had spoken at length with facts and figures to prove his point that there is illegal transportation of coal”.

On the request of Congress MLA from Laitumkhrah constituency, Ampareen Lyngdoh to set up a House Committee to thrash out the confusion surrounding the issue of illegal mining and transportation of coal, Nongrum said, “If government wants to clear the facts let’s have a House Committee and it is the prerogative of the Speaker to constitute such a committee so that it will investigate and verify whether there is illegal mining and transportation of coal.”

“If facts are being revealed to the people of the state and if it is proven that 1.41 MT of coal is still lying in West Jaintia Hills then we will even retract our claims and accusations,” he added.

Terming the reply of the state government in the Assembly as nothing but tall claims, Nongrum questioned if there was ever any mention of Congress MLAs misusing power for illegal mining and transportation of coal during their tenure in the government.

“There never has been such allegations and why is it when we raise the allegations they deflect the matter back to us saying it was there during our time also,” he added.

Meanwhile, replying to a query that there is a general feeling that many other important issues did not get the importance they deserved in the last Assembly elections because the discussion on coal had taken up substantial time. “The chief minister has dodged many question raised by the opposition, be it coal, power, or border issue. If people are asked they know that the ruling are dodging simple, straight-forward questions but they need to remember and set new precedents. You can only lie once, not twice”.

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