The Union Minister for Steel & Mines Shri Narendra Singh Tomar held a meeting with the Chief Minister of Meghalaya Dr. Mukul Sangama to discuss issues regarding development of Meghalaya and other North-East areas in the steel & mines sector in Shillong . Shri Tomar was accompanied by senior officials from Ministry of Steel and Ministry of Mines. In the meeting, Shri Tomar gave details of the MMDR Act 2015 and explained how it will usher in greater transparency and better ease of doing business, besides providing a mechanism in the form of District Mineral Foundation (DMF), for provision of funds for development of areas affected by mining. He also informed about setting up of National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET) for giving due emphasis to exploration. Actions taken for implementation of the Act also came up for discussion during the meeting. The Minister also offered to take up detailed exploration of minerals in the state for development of industry in this area. To give further impetus to Mineral exploration in Meghalaya, the Chief Minister agreed to the formation of a committee to expedite and intensify exploration activities in the state and to ensure quick closure of abandoned mines. Dr. Sangama thanked Shri Tomar for the visit and highlighted the thrust areas for the state government.
Speaking to the media following the meeting, Shri Tomar said that although the Centre is aware about the effect of the ban on coal mining imposed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in Meghalaya, the ruling of the Tribunal has to be accepted as the degradation of the environment is an area of critical concern and the need to protect the environment is a priority issue for the Government. However he added that the State Government can put forward its grievances before the Tribunal.
Stating that the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is committed to bring the northeastern region at par with the rest of the country in all realms of development, Shri Tomar said the Central government and the State government will work together to bring about progress and prosperity in the State through interventions in areas such as mineral exploration.
Dr. Mukul Sangma said that his government is expecting full support from the Union Government in this exercise. The Chief Minister also said that there is a need for proper mapping for exploration of minerals so that we know what is available and what is good for the State, the Nation and the people.