Kohima, 27 February (MTNews): Replying to a starred question on illegal coal mining in Nagaland put up by MLA Nuklutoshi during the 4th Session of the 14th Nagaland Legislative Assembly on 27 February 2024, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and the Minister-in-Charge stated that there were 45 Coal Mining License holders in coal-bearing areas of the State. He added that the Department has been conducting awareness campaigns from time to time with stakeholders and Village Councils to sensitize them to the adverse impacts of illegal coal mining on the environment and the need for reclamation wherever required.

Acknowledging reports of illegal coal mining in the State, he said the unique land-holding system in the State makes accounting difficult for such mines. He said that the Department needs to regulate such activities and assured the House that necessary steps would be taken to check such irregularities.

Deputy Chief Minister, TR Zeliang, also requested the local MLAs of the coal-bearing areas to play an important role in sensitizing the local populace on the harmful effects it has on human health, vegetation, and the environment as a whole due to the unscientific practice of coal mining.

In addition to the starred question, Advisor IPR and Soil & Water Conservation, Imkong L Imchen, stated that the Department of Soil & Water Conservation has submitted a proposal to be taken up as a pilot project responding to the issues caused due to the impact of coal mining across the State of Nagaland. He highlighted that the Department aims to rejuvenate mined spoilt areas by scientific methods.

The project has been approved by the Ministry and is currently under review by the State Level Sanction Committee, he concluded. He further added that if successfully implemented in Nagaland, the Government of India is looking towards implementing the project in other parts of the country as well.

MLA Nuklutoshi stated that coal plays a crucial role in meeting energy demands; however, it has raised concerns about the degradation of the environment and hazards to humans if not mined in a controlled manner. Therefore, he called on the concerned Department to create public awareness and to ensure that scientific coal mining is being practiced.

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