Investments in Mining in Meghalaya: Surface and Subsoil
Rights, Procedures and Regulatory Framework
By Shabbeer Ahmed Shaik
Meghalaya is considered to have a rich base of mineral resources. Besides mining on Government owned land and mines in the state, traditionally coal mining has also been done by individuals who own the land and also have rights to the minerals in the sub-soil. This is quite extensive, and often illegal. The low level of industrialisation and the relatively poor infrastructure base acts as an impediment to the exploitation of these natural resources in the interest of the state’s economy, however, with the advent of some corporate companies, the trend has been changing. In the recent past, Meghalaya has become one of the hot destinations for mining as the corporate companies has started looking beyond the traditional spots like Odisha, Jharkhand, Karnataka, etc. More often than not, such mining activities performed with the financial assistance of the big corporates and entering into unenforceable agreements with the local tribals who own the lands, are going unregulated resulting in huge blow on state’s exchequer and commercial exploitation of local people. In view of the same, the Government of Meghalaya has recently introduced a new Meghalaya Mines and Minerals Policy, 2012 in order to regulate the mining operations in the state. Therefore, this research paper provides a basic understanding about the State and its special status under the Constitution of India, land rights, its mining policies vis-à-vis the National Mining Laws and recent observations of Supreme Court on subsoil mining rights which are imperative for the investors looking for investing in Mining sector in Meghalaya or for that matter in any other state.