Coal trade a criminal conspiracy: Mukul
JOWAI: Continuing his tirade against the illegal coal trade in the state, Leader of Opposition, Mukul Sangma on Wednesday said that the MDA Government’s claim of a reserve of unclaimed coal amounting to 1.4 lakh metric tonnes as per the FIR lodged on June 23, was a “predetermined figure”, and dubbed the coal irregularities a ‘criminal conspiracy’.
After conducting an on-spot verification of the coal, the former chief minister claimed that the magnitude of unclaimed coal is just around 30,000-40,000 MT.
Sangma, who was accompanied by his party legislators and NPP MLA, Comingone Ymbon, on Wednesday, conducted a physical verification of the reported unclaimed coal at Khliehrangnah, West Jaintia Hills.
Asserting that the delay tactics in allowing transport of auctioned coal by the Coal India Limited (CIL) is a “criminal conspiracy” by few powerful people, Sangma pressed for an independent probe to unearth such activity.
Informing that the government is presently initiating steps for auctioning of unclaimed coals of 1.41 lakh MT, Sangma alleged that it is “the implementation of a well-scripted modus operandi” carried out by the ruling MDA Government to serve the interests of the powerful people.
Sangma also questioned the inordinate delay of auctioning of coal weighing 32 lakh MT in the inventory as declared by the CIL.
He asked the government whether the delay is intentional to pave way for the implementation of the ‘modus operandi’ for appeasement of powerful people. “The auctioning of the extracted coals should not be done in piecemeal manner, but in one go,” he added. Sangma also visited the Umtyra weighbridge where the seized coal is dumped.
Speaking to newsmen about the quantity of assessed coal, Sangma said that the quantity does not tally with the records of the state government, while stating, “In Shangpung, the assessed coal is supposed to be over 1.4 lakh MT, but such a quantity does not exist. Also in the state, the figure of 32 lakh MT does not exist. It is a well-scripted record”.
The leader of Opposition urged the state government to expedite the process of auctioning of assessed coal lying at various depots in the state, while adding that in the event of prolonged delays, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and CIL need to be involved in the process.
During the course of inspection, Sangma was overheard instructing the deputy commissioner of West Jaintia Hills to take necessary actions to prevent illegal mining and transportation of coal and to not bow down to any undue pressure from the powerful lot, stating that the coal lying in Khliehrangnah have been observed as mostly newly mined.
The former chief minister also lambasted the government for its failure to release the share of royalties to the district councils.