Meghalaya Assembly Speaker, Dr Donkupar Roy on Wednesday administered the oath of office and secrecy to Chief Minister, Conrad K. Sangma as the member of the 10th Meghalaya Legislative Assembly after he got elected South Tura Assembly constituency in the bye election held on August 23.
The Speaker administered the oath at his chamber at Khyndai Lad here in the presence of ministers and MLAs of the coalition Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government.
Conrad, who took over as chief minister on March 6 this year not as MLA, but as MP of Lok Sabha, resigned as member of the 16th Lok Sabha from Tura Parliamentary constituency on Tuesday.
Conrad was elected from Tura Lok Sabha constituency in the bye election on May 16, 2016.
It is mandatory for Conrad to quit as member of the Lok Sabha after having been elected as the MLA of South Tura constituency and his election as MLA confirmed his position as the Chief Minister of the State.
Conrad is leading the NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government which has the strength of 39 members including the Speaker in the 60-member Assembly.
The coalition Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government will complete six months in office on Thursday (September 6).
Speaking to reporters after the oath taking, the Chief Minister reiterated that his government would give more focus in addressing issues concerning the state including the need to lift the ban on coal mining by the National Green Tribunal.
“I am excited in taking oath as MLA and excited to work as MLA of South Tura. I thank the people of South Tura as well as all the people who have worked for me including our coalition partners. Works and responsibilities are different as MP and as an MLA, but the commitment has been 100 per cent and this would continue in the same line,” he asserted.
On challenges that the MDA government encountered in the last six months and priorities from now on, Conrad said, “When we took over the government, we did have challenges in term of taking over the system and there were some of our members who were new and even myself when I took over. It takes sometimes for us and it is normal for anybody to really get into the system and get into the momentum. Things have smoothened up in the last six months and we are very much now in a proper momentum to work.”
He said that the main challenges have been financial difficulties that the state is facing, and lots of pending schemes and works required to be completed.
The chief minister said that coming months and years would very critical and crucial for his government and in the last six months, lot of focus has been put in.
On coal mining ban, Conrad termed it a “complex” one, as he talked about issues that come on the way while moving towards finding solution.
“The complexity is huge as there are multiple ministries and multiple issues involved. It requires a lot of work to be coordinated between the Central government and the state and has to get along with various ministries – mines, coal, forest and environment and climate change, and home ministry. It is not an easy task, but we are very focus and hope that we are able to find a solution,” he said.
In the last six months, he said, around 12 meetings were held with officials of various Central ministries.
On getting Meghalaya exempted from Central laws like the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, Coal Mines (Nationalization) Act, 1973, the chief minister informed that the Coal Mines Nationalization has been repealed, about four months but still the MMDR Act is still applicable.
“We have also sought exemption from the provisions of the MMDR Act,” he said.
He reiterated that mining cannot be compromised in any way when it comes to environment and safety of miners.
He also admitted that carrying the coalition was never easy and always a challenge.
“But I am thankful to the partners for focussing and understanding the policies we are taking up. There has been lot of support from the partners and some tough decisions have to be taken,” the Chief Minister said, while also talking about the need to have a common minimum programme of the MDA government.