Shillong, Aug. 23: Rift in the Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) government has surfaced over the fate of the proposed mining policy.
Chief minister Mukul M. Sangma today took on his cabinet colleague and deputy chief minister-in-charge of mining and geology Bindo M. Lanong, a day after Lanong had said the proposed policy had been lying in the chief minister's office for the past four months.
"I have spoken to Lanong this morning, and said the version which was carried was incorrect, and that he should give a correct picture about the intention of the government in the context of the proposed mining policy," Sangma told reporters.
He also said the government had been working on the issue and a commitment had been given that an appropriate policy to regulate various activities of mining will be worked out and notified.
"Accordingly, the mining and geology department has been working, and the necessary exercise to take on board all the stakeholders through various consultations has been done, and subsequently, the proposed policy was brought to the cabinet with my approval for the consideration of the cabinet members," Sangma said.
"The cabinet, after having gone through the proposed policy, had wanted certain improvements to ensure that when it is enforced, it will be implemented with full transparency."
Sangma said on August 16, a presentation of the improved proposed policy was done before a group of ministers, in his presence.
"During the presentation, few observations were made, and the department has been asked to prepare a cabinet memo, and then submit it again for the consideration of the cabinet members," the chief minister said.
From all these developments, he said, it was clear that the department has been working to improve on the proposed policy.
"Therefore, the statement of Lanong about the file lying with the chief minister for four months is wrong. I have told him to correct it. There is no harm in sharing the actual exercise being resorted to by the department," Sangma said.
"We want to come up with a policy, which is effective and acceptable. I am sharing this because it is important for people to know that the statement of the deputy chief minister is incorrect, as otherwise it will send a wrong signal. If I read in between the lines, then it might be interpreted as if the chief minister is trying to stall the policy," he said.
"If the department was working on the proposed policy till August 16, how could the file remain in the chief minister's office for the past four months?" Sangma asked.