Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Justice Katakey insists on strict adherence to mine closure plan


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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, Feb 2: Justice (retired) BP Katakey, who heads the single member committee constituted by the High Court of Meghalaya, has insisted on strict adherence to mine closure plan in the event of open-cast scientific mining in the state.
Disclosing that he had visited and seen the area where scientific mining has been proposed, Justice Katakey on Friday said he was given to understand that there will only be open-cast mining.
“If it is open-cast mining, then the responsibilities of the authorities and the pollution control board will be much more given the experience of open-cast mining in Assam which is not very good,” Justice Katakey said.
According to him, he had inquired about the open-cast mining in Assam being conducted by the Coal India Limited.
“What I have seen is that there is no compliance with the mine closure plan. This should not be allowed in Meghalaya,” he said, adding that open-cast mining has its advantages as well as disadvantages.
Meanwhile, Justice Katakey said the prospective licence applicants have been told that extraction of coal will start in another six months.
“After getting the prospective licence, they must apply for environmental clearance. Before the government clearance is given, the state environment assessment authority has to carry out the verification and public hearing,” he said.
He said it is only then that the decision on whether or not to grant the licence will be taken.
Transportation of
inventorised coal
Justice Katakey said the transportation of the inventorised coal lying in the designated coal depots in West Khasi Hills, South Garo Hills and South West Khasi Hills, except for East Jaintia Hills, should be completed within four weeks.
He said during a meeting on Friday, they concentrated on the transportation of the left-out inventorised coal in East Jaintia Hills. He said he will recommend the time limit for the transportation of the left-out coal.
According to him, 1.56 lakh MT of coal in East Jaintia Hills is yet to be transported.
“Based on the order of the court, further action will be taken,” Justice Katakey said.
To a query, he said the state government had filed an affidavit  in the Supreme Court declaring 32 lakh MT of assessed and inventorised coal.
“But we found a little over 14 lakh MT. The (excess) coal declared was either missing, disappeared or non-existent,” Justice Katakey said.
He said they had asked the state government to conduct a probe.
“The inquiry is going on to find out the people responsible for this major lapse. Based on the report, we will take action,” Justice Katakey said.


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