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Meghalaya shuts down

- Will do everything to resolve mining ban, says govt

Shillong, Aug. 6: The statewide dawn-to-dusk shutdown called by the State Coordination Committee of Coal Owners, Miners and Dealers Forum evoked a partial response today.

The “sunrise to sunset” shutdown was called to protest against alleged nonchalant attitude of the Meghalaya government on the ban on rat-hole coal mining.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had imposed the ban in April.

While there was no report of any untoward incident from any part of the state during the shutdown, several vehicles remained off the roads while business establishments in the commercial areas here remained shut.

Most of the schools and colleges were closed while attendance in government offices was thin.

East Khasi Hills deputy commissioner Sanjay Goyal said attendance was around 70 per cent in the entire district. In the West Jaintia Hills district, the attendance was 92 per cent.

South West Khasi Hills and West Khasi Hills districts recorded an attendance of 91 per cent and 95 per cent respectively. Ri Bhoi district recorded 55 per cent attendance. In the West Garo Hills, the attendance was 45 per cent and in the North Garo Hills, it was 80 per cent.

The government said it was committed to sort out the issue and iterated that all necessary steps were taken and further steps would be taken to resolve the situation arising out of National Green Tribunal (NGT) ban on coal mining in the state.

On Friday, the tribunal had not only rapped the committee, which it had constituted on June 9, but also disbanded it before announcing the formation of a fresh committee to carry out the tasks.

Among others, the committee had failed to frame requisite guidelines for transportation of extracted coal in accordance with the tribunal order. It had also “delegated” its powers to various departments and authorities which it was not entitled to do.

Although the tribunal had constituted the committee, officials were mainly taken from the state government.