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Congress reiterates independent inquiry on illegal coal mining by ‘outside agency’

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Shillong, June 19: Reiterating its demand for an independent inquiry into the instances of illegal coal mining in the state, opposition Congress has asked for the investigation to be done by an outside agency which is not under the control of the state government.

Speaking to reporters after a Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting, Leader of Opposition and former Chief Minister, Dr. Mukul Sangma said the truth cannot be uncovered and the perpetrators be brought to book if the investigation is done by a government controlled body.

Dr. Sangma said that the illegal coal mining is continuing even more when the state is being confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic related challenges and called state’s denial of the same a ‘drama’.

His statement comes in light of atleast five miners getting trapped inside an illegal coal mine in Sutnga Elaka after a tragic accident that took place on the night of May 30. So far, police have arrested the owner of the coal mine, Shining Langstang, and charged him for violation of the NGT order banning unscientific mining and transportation of coal. Also, one body has been retrieved from the mine, and operations to retrieve other four bodies is on.
Dr. Sangma further asked on the need to enquire about the numbers of coal loaded trucks plying through the Gasuapara land custom station from the Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police of South Garo Hills and the Officer in-charge of Nongalbibra.

“Just ring them up – this is happening. While we are focused on fighting this pandemic, their (Govt) focus is somewhere else, I am sorry, not to enrich the state but to enrich somebody against the interest of the people and the state,” he said.

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