Shillong, Oct. 28: Three check posts of the Meghalaya transport department have failed to detect overloading of trucks to the tune of 6,59,099 metric tonnes, leading to non-imposition of fine and additional fine amounting to Rs 118.50 crore. This was revealed in the comptroller and auditor-general (CAG) report for the year ending March 31, 2012.
According to the report, the department has three check posts at Umkiang (Jaintia hills), Athiabari and Dainadubi, both in East Garo Hills district, whose primary responsibility is to check, detect and penalise vehicles carrying load in excess of the permissible limit.
The directorate of mineral resources also has its check posts in the three places whose responsibility is to levy and collect royalty/additional royalty on coal being transported through these three check posts.
The report pointed out that a check of the records of the DMR check posts at Umkiang, Athiabari and Dainadubi for the period April 2009 to March 2011 showed that 2,62,954 trucks carrying a total of 30,25,685 metric tonne of coal had passed through the check posts.
“Since the maximum permissible load was 9 metric tonne per truck, this implied that 6,59,099 metric tonne of coal was carried in excess of the permissible limit by these trucks,” the report added.
However, it said the transport department check posts at Umkiang, Athiabari and Dainadubi had failed to detect or apprehend these overloaded trucks. As a consequence, fines and additional fines leviable under Section 194 (i) of the MV Act, amounting to Rs 118.5 crore, was not collected.
“The fact that Meghalaya has, over the years, been deprived of a huge amount of revenue owing to the chronic inability of the transport department check posts to detect overloading suggests that there are serious systemic and other issues which the transport department inexplicably was yet to identify and address,” the report said.
In his budget speech in March this year, chief minister Mukul Sangma had pointed out that there is a proposal to construct integrated check gates at Byrnihat and Umling in Ri Bhoi and Depa Chima Apal in the Garo hills to regulate movement of goods vehicles and improve revenue collection.
An amount of Rs 40 lakh has been earmarked for the construction of the gates during the current financial year.
He had also informed that as a measure of additional resource mobilisation, the government has set up 15 check gates on important routes of the state to ensure proper checking and revenue collection on minerals transported.
In his speech, it was also mentioned that the production of coal and limestone, during 2012-13 (until December 2012), was recorded at 34.48 lakh metric tonnes and 34.03 lakh metric tonnes respectively.
The total revenue collected on major minerals up to December 2012 was Rs 204.71 crore and the anticipated level of revenue generation for 2013-14 was estimated to be around Rs 288.75 crore.