Cabinet to finalise policy to auction, transport coal

NGT panel to meet next in Ghy

SHILLONG: The policy on how to auction and transport the already extracted coal will be finalised by the state cabinet.
The three-member independent committee of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), headed by retired Justice BP Katakey on Wednesday informed that the state government was entrusted to formulate the policy for auction and transportation of coal as per the directives of the Supreme Court.
Speaking to media persons after the meeting of the committee, Katakey said that the meeting deliberated on its last proceedings relating to the modalities which need to be framed for transportation and auction of coal.
Informing that the state government is in the process of formulating the policy for which feedbacks have been taken from different departments, he said that the policy will be placed before the Cabinet for a final decision after which a joint committee comprising members from NGT committee, Coal India Ltd and Union government would deliberate on the policy.
The Supreme Court had lifted the NGT ban on coal mining with a rider that mining should be done as per the MMDR Act 1957 and other related rules concerning safety of the workers and the environment.
According to Katakey, the Coal India wants to go for e-auction of coal in Meghalaya and for discussing the matter, a special meeting is scheduled to be held in Guwahati on September 7.
During the meeting, the committee also took stock of the action taken by the mining and geology department as the committee was given certain details by the cement companies about the coal and alternate fuel which they need to use.
Katakey said the NGT committee will submit a report to the NGT on August 31 highlighting what the committee had done so far in Meghalaya ever since it was formed and what is its impression as far as the overall issue of coal mining in the state is concerned.
Stating that mapping of coal mines in Jaintia Hills has been done by the North Eastern Space Application Centre, he added that the Centre has submitted a draft report and the committee will give its feedback shortly.
There are as many as 24392 coal mines in Jaintia Hills alone.
According to Katakey, the Apex Court will monitor the transportation and auction of coal from the state.
The Coal India Ltd wants to auction and transport coal “as is where is” basis for which weighbridges will have to be constructed in the state.
As far as scientific high wall mining is concerned, Katakey informed that an expert team from the state had visited US for conducting a study and submitted a report in 2005.
However, the Meghalaya government has not taken a decision on the matter and it is only now that the government is in the process of considering the report.
He also said for individual coal miners, it would not be economically feasible to go for scientific mining and they need to form groups to practice scientific mining.

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