Coal royalty boost for state exchequer

SHILLONG: In a good news to the cash-strapped Meghalaya, the royalty collected by the State Government from the already extracted coal has touched Rs 205 crore following the NGT ban on coal mining, while the Government has also collected Rs 70 crore under Meghalaya Environment Protection and Restoration Fund as per the order of NGT.
The collection of royalty of Rs 205 crore will bring some relief to Meghalaya which is reeling under financial crunch, while Rs 70 crore cannot be used for any other purpose than restoration of the environment.
The Government had earlier projected the loss of Rs 600 crore following the NGT ban on rat coal mining.
The next hearing of the NGT is likely to be held in the third week of May to address the plea of Commercial Truck Owners and Operators Association (MCTOOA) against payment towards Meghalaya Environment Protection Fund and also the demand of the coal mine owners and dealers to extend the time for further transportation of already extracted coal.
Advocate Ranjan Mukherjee, the state government’s counsel, said over phone from Delhi on Tuesday that the amount of Rs 70 crore collected under Meghalaya Environment Protection and Restoration Fund as per the order of NGT will be kept in a separate bank account which has already been created by the department of mining.
However, the royalty of Rs 205 collected from the extracted coal will be available with the mining department.
The NGT wanted Meghalaya Environment Protection and Restoration Fund to be used for restoration of environment affected due to the reckless rat hole mining.
Mukherjee said that though the date fixed by NGT for the next hearing is May 14, he would seek extension till May 21 since he has received many applications regarding the case.
He also said if there are applicants demanding the extension of date for transportation of extracted coal, the matter can be taken with NGT.

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