The Politics of Coal Mining in Meghalaya: Land, Ownership and Local Autonomy

By Teiborlang T. Kharsyntiew

In the Northeast region of India, the state of Meghalaya is endowed with rich mineral resources like coal and limestones. Protected under the special status of the Sixth Schedule, land and its resources belong to the people. But over the last few decades, mining of these resources has changed not only the physical environment but also the tenet of indigenous land governance. While this transformation can be attributed to the change in land governance during the colonial and the post-colonial period, the extensive resource extraction from the mid-1990s onwards exposed the shortcomings of decentralisation of power and its effect on land governance in Meghalaya. Today the existence of multi-layer institutions of land governance that are inconsistence in powers and functions shapes the dynamics of coal politics and land governance in the state.

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