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Coal mining ban to continue

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  30 Jan 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Staff Correspondent

SHILLONG, January 29: The tiol Green Tribul (NGT) has once again upheld its earlier order banning unscientific coal mining in Meghalaya.

The Tribul also asked the Meghalaya government to submit a list of all coal mine owners who are allegedly involved in violation of the ban imposed by it since April last year.

“The particulars of all the mine owners should be submitted to this court within a week’s time,” Justice UD Salvi said.

He also said, “Let notices be issued to the mine owners as to why action should not be taken against them.”

“Illegal mining of coal is still going on,” Justice Salvi said while pointing out that there are instances that the police are detecting such cases and even seizing trucks loaded with coal.

It also directed coal mine owners to pay royalty on the extracted coal as fixed earlier. Justice Salvi said that the payment of royalty on the declared coal asset should be done within 14 days.

“We direct all the mine owners to pay the entire amount due on extracted and declared coal within a period of 14 days in lump sum,” Justice UD Salvi said while pronouncing his order during the hearing held here on Thursday.

The mine owners were directed to process the payment through RTGS bank transfer. The Directorate of Mineral Resources (DMR) was also directed to issue the challan for the coal assessed for the purpose of transportation.

“There shall be no further grant of time on this count,” Justice Salvi said.

“The revenue generated from the extracted and declared coal is Rs 77 crore approximately, out of the estimated amount of Rs 300 crore,” the NGT noted.

Earlier during the hearing, Mineral Resources department director R P Marak informed the Tribul that the State government had collected royalty of only Rs 77.25 crore for the assessed and transported 9.76 MT coal of the 11,02,950 MT coal allowed to be transported.

Meanwhile, the NGT directed the Government of Meghalaya to complete the process of installing and operatiolizing of weighbridges at Garampani and Dalu by March 31, 2015.

It may be mentioned here, the Tribul in its earlier order had directed the State government to install 11 weighbridges which were supposed to be operatiolised within this month. They include weighbridges at Ratacherra, Dawki, Karampani, Bagli, Cherragoan, Borsora, Mawpu, Dalu, Daidubi, Umling and Gasaupara.

NGT has also stressed the need to hasten up the process of operatiolizing the weighbridges in order to facilitate the smooth transportation of extracted coal.

The Tribul also appointed five independent local commissioners to conduct inspections at the weighbridges and mines and ensure that the orders passed by the Tribul are being followed in letter and spirit. The commissioners are advocate J B Kharbhih, environmentalists Rosan and Vikash Pradhan, activist ba Bhattacharjee and former police officer K Rymbui.

“The local commissioners shall report to the Tribul about the implementation of the orders passed by us by the end of every month starting from February,” Justice Salvi said.

Meanwhile, the Tribul has directed the Meghalaya government to submit a complete report adopted for the purpose of promoting scientific and permissible mining of coal.

“In the next hearing, the State government is directed to submit a complete report adopted for the purpose of promoting scientific and permissible mining of coal,” said Justice Salvi.

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