Councillor clarifies illegal mining issue in Karbi Anglong
Denies nexus with coal mafia
Diphu, Jan. 25 (EMN): Member of Autonomous Council (MAC) of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) Mukut Mahanta has admitted that illegal coal mining has been going on in Karbi Anglong district. He has denied any hand in it though. He has been the focus of the media recently reportedly for being a member of the coal mafia in the district.
During a press conference that was conducted at the chief executive member’s (CEM) bungalow on Jan. 24, Wed., he said, “There is a misinformation campaign going in the media about the BJP government of being involved in illegal coal mining in the district. We have been elected for only six months and these allegations are emerging on us. Illegal coal mining has been going on for long in the district but the BJP have a policy to stop illegal coal mining before coming to power in KAAC.”
Saying that the BJP would be in power in the KAAC for only five months, he said, ‘After coming to power, all of a sudden allegations are made against us using improper words which is unfortunate. There is a political conspiracy to finish the career of MAC Mahanta and we strongly condemn the allegations…I accept that illegal coal mining has been going on in Klurdung, Langmili, Koilajan and other areas at around six places.’
The member explained more that even when the BJP was in the opposition, the party had demanded a stop to illegal coal mining. The KAAC had likewise constituted a committee to look into the matter, he said.
‘I too felt threatened and asked for security. Illegal coal mining has been stopped totally at Langmili in my constituency. After the operation of illegal coal mining was stopped at Langmili, an organisation approached me to reopen it. There are many organisations involved in illegal coal mining in the district. KAAC has no right to stop illegal coal mining or to give permission; we can only seize the coal.’
Nonetheless, the member clarified on the matter. Mahanta said, “I came to know about my involvement with the coal mafia only through the media. I have been accused of being a mafia. The voice has been circulated without any name. If there is any proof, then the media should present it. I accept that illegal coal mining is going on. On January 8 we tried to meet the Forest minister but due to some reason we were unable to meet him. I have given a complaint on illegal coal mining with the SDO (civil) (he did not mention the sub-division). The voice recording circulated around to be me and a member of the coal mafia talking is not mine. As a public leader I talked to many but the voice in the recording is not mine.’
On being queried by the media why he had not filed an FIR for long, he replied, “We will conduct an enquiry on illegal coal mining.”
Also, the president of the BJP’s East Karbi Anglong District Committee and executive member of the KAAC, Ratan Teron, while accepting that illegal coal mining has been going on in Karbi Anglong, said, “We have discussed the matter in the party. There will be an enquiry, then only the party will look into it.”