Committee wants probe into use of slate by cement co.

SHILLONG: The NGT Committee, which is auditing the source of fuel being used by the cement factories and power plants in Meghalaya, has asked the state government to conduct an inquiry into the use of slate by Star Cements Ltd although no license has been issued for mining of the mineral in the state.
Speaking to newsmen here on Monday after a sitting of the committee, chairman Justice (retd) BP Katakey said that in one of the reports, the company has stated that it is using slate apart from coal by paying royalty to the state government. On enquiry by the committee, the government, however, replied it had not issued any mining lease for slate.
“If no mining lease is issued, how can the department accept the royalty,” Katakey said.
The company said it collects the slate from overburden of coal (also called waste or spoil), but the committee has found it difficult to accept the claim and hence has directed the government to inquire into the matter and submit a report to the committee in its next sitting on October 18.
The committee also discussed the report submitted by the company about the use of fuel other than coal.
However, the committee could not take a final call on the matter as it requires further information. It will submit a report to NGT in October on its observations about the use of coal and alternatives in the cement and power plants.
Regretting that some cement companies have not yet furnished the details, Katakey said that the committee would send reminders to them and if they don’t respond, action would be taken against them.