The judgement of the court is historic and tribal identity has been acknowledged:Conrad


Shillong, August 15: Meghalaya Chief Minister Mr Conrad K Sangma said “I wish you all a very happy 73rd Independence Day from the bottom of my heart! I take this opportunity to pay homage to the valiant martyrs and the great freedom fighters of our country. I also offer my heartfelt tribute to the father of our nation – Mahatma Gandhi and all the freedom fighters. On this occasion, I also offer my sincere homage to the patriots of our State – U Tirot Sing, U Kiang Nangbah and Pa ToganSangma”.

Mr Conrad said the the State with bountiful natural and water resources. We have a rich repository of both floral and faunal diversity. With 76 percent of the State under forest cover, Meghalaya ranks among the top states in the country in terms of total area under forest cover. Our communities have always strived to preserve the resources that we have been blessed with.

The large agro-biodiversity of Meghalaya can help promote agri-horticulture and livestock based economic development. Further, Tourism and hospitality sectors are key to our growth. The law and order situation is also by and large peaceful and provides the right background for pursuing transformational development. Despite the many advantages, the State also faces several challenges and natural disasters are one of them.

The Chief Minister sent his deepest condolences to the families of those persons who have lost their lives due to the 3 recent floods that caused widespread damage and destruction. I also share the pain of all those who have suffered injuries and those who lost their properties during the floods. He also express my gratitude towards all those who have assisted in the flood relief operations and those who have made generous contributions towards the Chief Minister’s relief fund.

The Chief Minister also said that, the recent verdict of the Hon’ble Supreme Court lifting the 2014 ban on coal mining is a big victory for the people of the state. The Hon’ble Court upheld the Government’s contention that the Indigenous people of Meghalaya have rights over land and over the extracted mineral. Perhaps for the first time anywhere in the country, the Government argued for protection of Tribal rights, the unique culture and identity of the people before the highest court of the land.

This government walked the talk on the issue and I feel a great sense of satisfaction today. The judgement of the court is historic and its implications extend beyond the realm of coal mining. Once tribal identity has been acknowledged by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the customs, practices and traditions will remain protected.

This judgement will certainly have a positive impact on the economy of the State and will lead to revival of the coal mining areas. Friends, the state has about 576 million tonnes of coal deposits and about 9,300 million tonnes of limestone deposits. The value of all mineral resources of the State is about 180 billion US Dollars.

The government is now putting in place systems for sustainable mining so that the present and future generation can reap the benefits of these important resources. The Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) Government’s vision is to capitalise on all the strengths of the State and to take Meghalaya to new heights of development and prosperity in the coming years.

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