Illegal coal transportation on in state: NGT panel

SHILLONG: The NGT Committee headed by former judge of Gauhati High Court Justice BP Katakey on Monday said that illegal transportation of coal is continuing in the state despite there being no permission from any court of law since January 1, 2019.
Talking to media persons after the 18th sitting of the committee constituted by the NGT here on Monday, Katakey, however, said that illegal extraction of coal has come down by 80 per cent.
He said the committee has received a representation from an individual alleging that illegal coal mining is still taking place in West Khasi Hills. Katakey said that even the state government has said that there may be some problems in the areas and hence inquiry is being conducted into the matter after which it would submit a report to the committee.
He also informed that the Ri Bhoi Youth Federation had recently shared a video with the NGT about alleged illegal transportation of coal and based on the clip, the committee had asked for a report from the district superintendent of police 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 action since no complaint was filed,” he said.
However, the committee has rejected the SP’s report while expressing its displeasure and has asked the Additional Director General of Police to submit a full report on the matter.
There were also allegations that some trucks were not issued transit passes by the Directorate of Mineral Resources (DMR) but by the police, to which the ADGP in the meeting clarified that police personnel are putting their signatures on the transit challans so that these cannot be re-used.
“If 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 has also detected a serious monopoly in the Gasuapara Land Customs Station in South Garo Hills. It was informed in a report that the land customs station issued only three challans to three trucks of 9 MT each to export coal to Bangladesh in May this year.
However, the Customs department reported that they have allowed 461 trucks to cross over to Bangladesh.
The committee has directed the state government to inquire into the matter and pinpoint the officer involved in such illegal activity.
Refusing to say that the state government has failed to control illegal mining in the state, it said that there might have been delay in detection.
Katakey also said that the police department has cited insufficient manpower to stop illegal mining and transportation of coal. The committee has recommended to the NGT that it should impress upon the Centre to deploy more central forces here but the latter said that the matter needs to be taken up by the state government.

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