Five pressure groups under the Save Hynñiewtrep Movement have demanded an amendment of the office memorandum dated March 5, 2021 relating to the SOPs for grant of Prospecting Licence and/or Mining Lease for Coal in Meghalaya.
Leaders of the five pressure groups, comprising the HYC, HANM, CORP, EJNC and JSM, have termed the SOP as “of the High Level, by the High Level and for the High Level”.
Addressing reporters today, HYC president, Robertjune Kharjahrin, said that the memorandum contains a clause where the landowner and the applicant only need to sign an agreement for the purpose of applying for a prospecting licence/mining lease.
“We are of the opinion that this clause should be amended so as to allow only tribals to make an agreement between themselves and no non-tribal should be allowed to enter into an agreement for coal mining with the tribal land owner for applying licence, which we feel is in line with the customary land tenure system in the state and also in line with the Meghalaya Transfer of Land Regulation Act,” he said, adding that the clause will also lead to legalisation of benami activities in the coal mining sector as it provides a space for people to practice benami activities and needs to be amended.
The other thing the five groups are opposed to is the clause where the minimum size of land required for the licence should be not less than 100 hectares, which, they say is totally unacceptable “as only a very few tribal landowners have possession/ownership over of so much land.”
This requirement also makes no sense as Rule 22D of the Mineral Concession Rules 1960, issued by the Controller General of the Indian Bureau of Mines specifies that the minimum area for grant of mining lease in respect of minerals shall be of not less than 4 hectares.
“We demand that this Clause should be amended to suit the local situation and we suggest that perhaps mining lease may be granted to a smaller area than what is notified,” Kharjahrin added.