Shillong, September 16, 2019:
National Green Tribunal (NGT) Committee has stated that illegal coal transportation is being carried out in Meghalaya despite not having permission by any court of law since January 1, 2019.
The NGT Committee was headed by a former judge, Justice BP Katakey and statement came after holding the 18th sitting of the committee constituted by the NGT here on Monday.
However, Justice Katakey added that illegal extraction of coal had been reduced by 80 percent in the state.
Informing that the Committee had received a representation from one individual alleging that illegal coal mining was still taking place in West Khasi Hills, Katakey said that even the State Government had said that there might be some problems in the areas and hence inquiry was being conducted into the matter. The report will be submitted after inquiry to the committee.
He also informed that Ri Bhoi Youth Federation recently shared a video with the NGT about alleged illegal transportation of coal and based on the clip, the Committee had asked a report from Ri Bhoi SP on the matter.
“In his report, the SP admitted 49 cases of illegal transportation of coal being registered from January 1 till the time of submission of the report but he has not taken any actions since no complaint was filed,” he said
However, the committee has rejected the report of the Superintendent of Police by expressing its displeasure and has asked the Additional Director General of Police to submit a full report on the matter before the Committee.
There were also allegations that some trucks were not issued transit passes by DMR but by the police itself to which the ADGP in the meeting clarified that police personnel are putting their signatures on the transit challans so that it cannot be reused
“If the police are issuing the transit permit, it is a serious violation of the law and we have sought a complete report on the matter,” he said.
The Committee also detected a serious monopoly in the Gasuapara Land Customs Station in South Garo Hills saying that the Committee was informed in a report that the particular land custom station issued only three challans to three trucks for 9 mt each to export coal to Bangladesh in May this year.
However, the report from the Customs department said that they allowed 461 trucks to cross over to Bangladesh during the same period.
The Committee has directed the Meghalaya Government to inquire into the matter and find out as to who is involved in this activity and the report has to pinpoint the officer who is doing such illegal activity.
Refusing to say that the State Government failed to control illegal mining in the state, the State Government may have been delayed in noticing the extraction of illegal transportation of coal
He also said that the police department in Meghalaya laments that they don’t have sufficient manpower to stop illegal mining and transportation of coal and the Committee had recommended to the NGT that it should impress upon the Centre to deploy more central forces here but the NGT said that the matter needs to be taken up by the State Government itself.
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