Group taps CM on unabated mining

Illegal coal mining and transportation is still on in spite of the ban by the National Green Tribunal, a group has alleged in a petition to Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K. Sangma.

By Our Correspondent
  • Published 19.09.18
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Shillong: Illegal coal mining and transportation is still on in spite of the ban by the National Green Tribunal, a group has alleged in a petition to Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K. Sangma.

The Wildlife and Environment Protection Group from West Jaiñtia Hills, in the petition, alleged that in spite of the serious effort by the NGT to preserve the environment, there are brisk coal-mining activities and environmental destruction at various places all over the state.

"Transportation of illegally extracted coal is going on smoothly through National Highways 40, 44 and 6 in the state," the group alleged.

It also accused the state government of misleading the Supreme Court on previous occasions by placing false reports on the quantity of the already extracted coal, which is yet to be transported.

"There is no more old coal left. All the extracted coal which is currently lying at various pit heads is fresh and illegally mined," the petition said.

Moreover, the group said government officials in the mining and geology department, forest and environment, State Pollution Control Board and the district administrations were not performing their duties in stopping illegal coal mining and enforcing various orders of the NGT.

"Everyday about 130 coal-laden trucks are supplying coal illegally to various cement industries in East Jaintia Hills. Coal mining is continuing in East Jaiñtia, West Khasi Hills and South West Khasi Hills districts. Around 200 coal-laden trucks are leaving the state daily through government checkgates at Ratacherra in East Jaiñtia Hills," it alleged.

At Shangbangla government checkgate in Ri Bhoi district, the group alleged that about 150 trucks are allowed to ply. It alleged a strong nexus between the operators of the government weighbridges, officials posted at the checkpoints and coal smugglers.

According to a recent sample analysis of coal collected from various locations in Khasi and Jaiñtia Hills, the group claimed that the report showed that all the coal is fresh.

The group demanded that criminal proceedings should be initiated against the errant officials who are responsible for allowing illegal coal mining under their jurisdiction.

It said an audit should be immediately conducted on all the cement factories in East Jaiñtia Hills on the source of coal and the quantity they are utilising on a daily basis and existing coal stocked within their factories.