Conrad defends delay in coal auction, slams Opp

SHILLONG: Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma has stoutly defended the delay in starting the auction of the coal even as he slammed Opposition for making unsubstantiated allegations about illegal transportation of coal.
Speaking to media persons here on Friday, the chief minister said that the auctioning had been delayed since the government was following all the procedures and the guidelines of the Supreme Court.
Rubbishing the allegations about illegal coal mining and transportation, Sangma said that the government is following all the guidelines of the NGT even as he added that it is not correct for the Opposition to speak without facts and going to the details.
“This may be a political statement to confuse the people but there is no truth in it,” Sangma said while adding that the Opposition itself is confused as time and again they are giving contradictory statements.
Sangma said that as per the guidelines, the transportation of coal from stocks to the depots will have to be looked after by the state government itself.
“These things are complicated as we have not done them before and it is a huge challenge for us,” the chief minister said while assuring that the government was very close to finalising the entire process of auction. “We are very sure that auction will take place in some districts at least very shortly,” he said.
The NGT committee had earlier approved auction of 2 lakh metric tonnes of extracted coal in Meghalaya out of the 32,56,715 metric tonnes of extracted coal.
The coal approved to be auctioned from different districts of the state include 75,000 metric tons (MT) in East Jaintia Hills district, 50,000 MT each in West Khasi Hills and South Garo Hills and 25,000 MT in South West Khasi Hills.
The Supreme Court, in its order passed on July 3 last year, had directed that the entire extracted coal stocks already identified in the state should be handed over to Coal India Limited (CIL) for disposal/auction as per the rules of CIL and mode and manner formulated by the NGT-appointed committee.
“Earlier, they were saying there is no 32 lakh metric tonnes of coal and now they are saying the auction process should be expedited,” the chief minister added.

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