Monday, April 15, 2024

Coal traders’ body writes to CM against admin order


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SHILLONG: The Association of Meghalaya Traders and Transporters has written to the chief minister against the Ri Bhoi district administration’s directives on coal transport and the benefits of having a coal market in the Assam-Meghalaya border.
In the letter, Enrico D Pasi, the president of the association, said neither the Supreme Court nor the National Green Tribunal had ordered that coal should be sold only to the destination agreed by the government or that it had to be transported only through NH 6, which passes near the office of the deputy commissioner in Nongpoh.
“The government cannot dictate the seller on whom to sell their coal to and where? The coal traders are required to clear all the government dues, taxes, royalty and cess before leaving the state of Meghalaya, the role of the state government is limited to checking of these statutory requirements only,” Pasi wrote.
The letter pointed out that Assam-based coal traders no longer have trading centres at Beltola following the neighbouring state’s decision to make smart city and have set up coal market in Meghalaya.
“This initiative should be lauded and supported by the Government of Meghalaya as lots of taxes will be generated by the state if coal market is set up in the Meghalaya-Assam border near Byrnihat and Jorabat,” Pasi said and listed other advantages of having a coal market in the border area.
Pasi said this will not only prevent encroachment but help promote Meghalaya as the coal producing state in the region.
“Till date, Meghalaya coal is transported out of northeast through Beltola as it is the coal market area and coal is known as Assam coal. Assam government is earning hundreds of crores of rupees from Meghalaya coal every year. This revenue doesn’t come to Meghalaya as the trading centre is in Assam. It will also create thousands of jobs for the local people,” Pasi wrote and added that the Ri Bhoi district administration should realise this and “act responsibly”.
Byrnihat and Jorabat are located after the government revenue collection centres and all taxes have been paid for the coal dumped there.
“If the deputy commissioner Nongpoh has even a slightest doubt that the manner in which coal is stored or coal depot doesn’t conform to environmental standards, the owners of coal depots may be asked to make proper dumping yard or depot which are environmental friendly.”
“But it can never conclude that it is illegal to dump coal which has already passed the government checkpost in the depot or dumping yard,” the letter pointed out.
Requesting the chief minister to recall the order restricting coal traders, Pasi wrote that if the DC had to justify the order, then all dumping yards at industrial estates in Byrnihat and Jorabat should be declared illegal and “such industries should shut down and shifted to Assam in order to comply with her order”.


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