SDRC recommends 'strip mining' in Meghalaya

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Shillong, Jan 10 (UNI) The State Development Reforms Commission (SDRC) today recommended 'strip mining' to check environmental degradation in Meghalaya, while suggesting to the government to take urgent steps in 'encouraging scientific mining practices' and preserving the environment.

In its report submitted to Chief Minister DD Lapang, the Commission said the implementation of ''strip mining would offer safety in mining without causing damage to the environment.'' In strip mining, the top layer of the deposit is mined and subsequently goes downward to ensure higher percentage of recovery of any mineral and causes minimum damage to the environment, SDRC Chairman and former Chief Minister, EK Mawlong said in its report.

In Meghalaya, mining is done by ''rat-hole'' and other unscientific methods, causing air, water and rain pollution.

Compounded by these unscientific mining methods are some of the cement industries in Jaintia and East Khasi Hills discharging harmful waste into water and air, causing pollution.

Last year, fishes in Lukha River in Jaintia Hills died mysteriously and environmentalists blamed cement factories for the deaths. Similarly, beekeepers in Sohra (Cheerapunjee) are alleging that the Mawmluh-Cherra Cement Limited had polluted air to dangerous levels.

Pointing out that the state government received an estimated Rs.

100 crore as royalty annually from coal and limestone mining, the SDRC urged the government to formulate a comprehensive mining policy, reportedly under pressure from the mafia within the booming mining industry.

The SDRC said in its report that the Indian Bureau of Mines(IBM) be involved in providing guidance in mining operations and also suggest ways to frame a proper mining policy.

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