Govt in trouble as NGT panel chairman quits

SHILLONG: The state government is in trouble after the chairman of the NGT appointed committee dealing with the coal related issues, has refused to carry on with the assigned task.
Though the chairman of the committee, retired justice BP Katakey, cited personal reasons for such a decision, sources said that he was not happy with the stand of the government not to provide information regarding the details of 32 lakh metric tonnes of coal which will have to be transported after auction.
The NGT panel had also sought details about the transportation of coal to Bangladesh.
According to sources, the NGT panel chief faced humiliation after the government officials of the related departments continued to deny information to the queries posed by him.
Besides, the government officials who attended the meetings had also questioned the jurisdiction of the committee to seek information.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had refused to stay the formation of the NGT appointed committee though the state government had challenged the functioning of the panel.
Katakey has also decided to write to the apex court to relieve him of the task and hence the next date of the meeting has not been fixed.
The NGT panel chief said in the past that he had noticed that the government was reluctant to share certain information he had asked for and that the government informed the committee in writing that the panel has no jurisdiction to ask for the information. This was recorded in the proceedings of the committee.
Moreover, the affidavit filed before the Supreme Court identifying 32 lakh metric tonnes of coal has not been given to the NGT panel by the government stating that the court has already dealt with it.
The panel has also decided to send two reports to the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
While the first report will be regarding the coal auction, the second will be a general report.
Illegal transportation
Katakey said the frequent seizure of trucks reveals illegal transportation of coal in the state.
Recently, 95 trucks were seized for illegally transporting coal in East Jaintia Hills.
“The fact remains that lots of trucks have been seized carrying coal and may be they do not have the valid permit to transport. Situation may also be that they have already purchased coal before 2014 but now they are transporting without the permit”, Katakey said.

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