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Mukul does U-turn on ‘coal’ issue

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Shillong, Oct 28: Leader of Opposition Dr. Mukul Sangma, who had vowed to quit politics today made a soft ‘U-turn’ by urging the NGT and Coal India Limited (CIL) to expediate the process of disposing of the coal in the State.

“We want this (coal) to be lifted immediately. If this has been auctioned, it must be lifted immediately… we would be urging the Hon’ble NGT and CIL to expediate the process of auctioning as per the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court,” said Dr. Mukul briefing the media after physical inspection of coal at Khliehrangnah in West Jaintia Hills today.

His statement comes at a time, when he himself had raised allegations and had challenged the Govt on presence of 32 lakh metric tons of coal in the State. On October 23, Dr. Sangma had said, “if proven that 32 lakh metric tons of coal is still available, I will quit politics”.

However, on Wednesday, he seems to have taken a soften stance on the issue of coal.

“Let us respect the judgement of the Apex Court”, he said while stating that the miners, who met him in Shillong on Tuesday also wanted that the coal auctioning is expediated.

“Many of the genuine miners whose coal are stuck because of the NGT ban…we must realise one fact that if this delay in auctioning takes place, they (miners) will not able to recover whatever little money they have invested in coal. We will further take up the issue,” said Dr. Mukul, reasserting that this is the aspiration of the miners.

Recalling on the judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated 3rd July 2019, Dr. Mukul said, “The judgement says among others… is to complete the whole process of disposal of coal which has been submitted before the Supreme Court in its inventory which amounts to 32 lakh MT that should be auctioned through CIL under the complete supervision of NGT,” he asserted while questioning on the ‘delay’.

Earlier, he had said that if govt proves that 32 lakh metric tons of coal is still there, he will quit politics. However, after his visit to Khliehrangnah today he has categorically demanded that the coal auctioning be expediated as there are delay in the auctioning process.  

“So, now that he has chewed his own word. Is he willing to quit politics?” said an ardent political observer.

Dr. Mukul has been questioning on the ‘illegalities’ but his sudden change in opinion has raised question – Is he on the side of the coal lobby, or the coal miner ? which is nothing but two sides of the same coin.

Miners and the coal business lobby in Meghalaya are a ‘network’ of same people.

Dr. Mukul’s repeated utterance that ‘miners’ have made him and has requested him only goes to prove that he had up his ante only to strike cord with the coal lobby of the State.

He also retracted from his own statement today as he demanded that ‘unclaimed’ coal should be auctioned. “Question of unclaimed coal does not exist in Meghalaya as the land owner where the coal are stacked is known,” he had said earlier.

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