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402 cases registered in state since Feb 2019

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Illegal transportation of coal in Meghalaya

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, May 8: Altogether 402 cases of illegal transportation of coal were registered in Meghalaya between July 2019 and February 2024.
The cases were registered under Section 21 of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, and the Indian Panel Code.
These details were included in the Justice (retd) BP Katakey-headed single-member committee’s 22nd interim report submitted before the High Court of Meghalaya recently.
Earlier, the Assistant Inspector General of Police (A), Meghalaya had shared the figures with the Committee.
According to the report, 83 cases were also registered for illegal extraction of coal.
Of the 402 cases registered for illegal transportation of illegally-mined coal, investigation into 65 cases is pending. Similarly, out of the 83 cases registered for illegal extraction of coal, investigation into 50 cases is pending.
The Committee has not cited the reasons behind pendency of investigation and the outcomes in the cases where trial has been completed.
The Committee advised the Assistant Inspector General of Police (A) to apprise it, within a fortnight, the reasons for pendency of investigation and as well as the outcome in the cases where trial has been completed.
On the status of the implementation of projects for generating alternative livelihood for the persons involved in coal mining activities, the Committee said none of the schemes formulated has been implemented till now although nearly five years have elapsed from the date of the passing of the judgment by the Supreme Court and about 10 years from the date of the imposition of the ban on rat-hole mining by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
The report added that various departments and authorities, such as Labour Department, Tourism Department, Fisheries Department, Veterinary Department, Agriculture Department, Education Department, Directorate of Commerce, State Rural Employment Society, Institute of Natural Resources and the Deputy Commissioners of four districts concerned submitted various schemes for alternative livelihood.
The report said the schemes were compiled in deference to the direction of the Oversight Committee which was constituted by the NGT in its 5th sitting held on March 29 last year.
The Oversight Committee, thereafter, decided to grant in principle approval to the projects relating to the alternative source of livelihood from the interest component of the Meghalaya Environment Protection and Restoration Fund.
The Justice Katakey-headed committee has advised the Secretary of Mining and Geology Department to take steps for obtaining necessary approval from the Oversight Committee at the earliest so that the schemes approved could be implemented immediately and alternative livelihood could be provided to the deserving coal miners whose source of income got curtailed after the ban on illegal coal mining activities.
“The Oversight Committee constituted by the NGT, therefore, needs to take up this issue urgently,” the Committee stressed in the report.

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