State coal auction policy hangs fire

Transportation yet to start 3 months after SC order

SHILLONG: There will be further delay in auction of the already extracted coal and its transportation as the draft policy in this regard is yet to be approved by Coal India Ltd (CIL).
More than three months have passed since the Supreme Court order on July 3 but the process to dispose of the already extracted coal is yet to start.
An official from the Mining and Geology department said the draft policy to auction and transport coal is yet to be approved by CIL. The state government had sent the draft policy to CIL but the latter suggested a meeting before finalising it.
After the policy is ready, it will be approved by the state cabinet following which the nod of NGT committee headed by BP Katakey will be sought.
Earlier, the Katakey committee had held several meetings to finalise the coal auction and expressed unhappiness over the delay.
Sources said that though Chief Minister Conrad Sangma wanted to start the process within October, there may be further delay as the major hurdle is to construct depots before transporting coal.
The plan of the government is to construct two depots each in South Garo Hills, West Khasi Hills and South West Khasi Hills and six in Jaintia Hills.
The state government had assessed 32 lakh tonnes of already extracted coal still awaiting transportation.
The Supreme Court in the July 3 order had said that the state government, after the assessment of the coal lying in four districts, including the details of the quantities and the owners, may ensure that entire coal is handed over to CIL as per the mode and manner to be formulated by the Katakey committee in consultation with officers of the CIL and the state government.
According to the court, the expenses of transportation will be borne by the state government, CIL or by both and the expenses can be deducted from the price received from the coal.
The state will be entitled to royalty and payment towards environment fund as well as taxes out of the price of coal.
The court said, “After deducting its expenses for transportation with 10% of price of the coal, the Coal India Ltd shall remit the balance amount to the state and it is for the state after deducting the royalty and payment to the environment fund and taxes to pay back balance amount to the owners”. The court said that it is for CIL to decide as to the venue, where they will receive the coal, either at any of its depots or any other place in Meghalaya and it is for the CIL to finalise the process of disposal and auction of the coal.
According to the court, it will be the duty of the Meghalaya government and its officers especially the deputy commissioners of the area concerned to enter details of quantity of the coal, name of the owner and place from where it is collected and all concerned will take steps to ensure proper weighment of the coal when it is received by Coal India Ltd.

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