Monday, 30th October 2017

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Coal exported from Meghalaya to Bangladesh since ban

Last month, the Supreme Court had allowed coal mining in Meghalaya under various regulatory provisions

By Our Correspondent in Shillong
  • Published 7.08.19, 2:30 AM
  • Updated 7.08.19, 2:30 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Coal being extracted from a mine (The Telegraph file picture)

More than 33 lakh tonnes of coal have been exported from Meghalaya to Bangladesh since the ban on rat-hole coal mining was imposed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in April 2014.

According to information provided by the customs department to a committee constituted by the tribunal, 33,23,073 tonnes of coal in 539,134 truckloads have been exported to Bangladesh since the ban was imposed.

The committee, headed by Justice (retd) B.P. Katakey, was told that coal was exported through seven land custom stations in Meghalaya. These include Baghmara in South Garo Hills district, Bholaganj in East Khasi Hills, Borsora in South West Khasi Hills, Dalu in West Garo Hills, Dawki in West Jaiñtia Hills, Ghasuapara in South Garo Hills and Mahendraganj in West Garo Hills.

The committee observed that from April 2014 to April 2018, the average quantity of coal transported by a truck through Ghasuapara land custom station was less than 1 metric tonne, which is substantially lower than the average quantity of nearly 9 tonnes coal exported by a truck.

The committee was also informed by the customs department that about 80 per cent of the coal was exported to Bangladesh through the seven land custom stations while the rest 20 per cent came from Bhutan. Following a detailed examination, the committee has directed the commissioner of customs, Shillong, to provide month-wise details of names and addresses of the exporters and source of origin for each consignment of coal which was allowed to be exported to Bangladesh from each of the seven land custom stations since the ban on rat-hole coal mining was imposed.

The committee has also sought information on the actual quantity and truckload of coal allowed to be exported to Bangladesh through Ghasuapara in April 2014 and in April 2018.

Moreover, the committee has sought details of the land custom stations on the India-Bhutan border through which coal originating in Bhutan was allowed to enter and transit through India while its destination was Bangladesh. The names of such exporters have to be provided as well.

The committee has directed the Meghalaya commissioner and secretary (mining and geology) to provide month-wise details of the names and addresses of exporters for each consignment of coal originating from Meghalaya and which was allowed to be exported to Bangladesh. Last month, the Supreme Court had allowed coal mining in Meghalaya under various regulatory provisions.