SHILLONG, March 15: The principal bench of tiol Green Tribul (NGT) will hold a hearing tomorrow in New Delhi to decide whether to allow transportation of extracted coal till May this year.
The principal bench comprising of NGT chairman Justice Swatanter Kumar, Justice M S mbiar, Judicial Member Dr D K Agarwal and Expert Member Prof A R Yousuf will meet at 2 pm to hear the case. The NGT principal bench had earlier sat on March 13 to examine the petitions filed by coal traders associations and also the State government. It may be mentioned that the Meghalaya government has moved the principal bench of NGT with a plea to allow transportation of extracted and assessed coal till May 31.
The State government also requested the NGT to allow payment of royalty on extracted coal till March 31.
Transportation of extracted coal in Meghalaya came to a halt on February 11 in compliance with the order of the NGT.
On January 29, the tribul has also appointed five independent environment commissioners to conduct independent inspections at the weigh bridges and mines in the State and see if the orders passed by the tribul are being followed in letter and spirit. It may be mentioned that on April 17, 2014, the tribul’s principal bench had issued an interim ban on coal mining and coal transportation in Meghalaya.
However, transportation of the extracted and assessed coal was permitted from September 1, 2014. The coal allowed to be transported was only that whose royalty has been paid to the government.
The NGT had in October 2014 asked coal miners and transporters to pay Rs 400 crore royalty to the State government within 45 days as per Mines Development and Regulation Act, 1957, before transporting 6.3 million tonnes of extracted coal lying in depots across the State.
The Mineral Resources Department had collected royalty of over Rs 77 crore for the coal assessed by an expert committee appointed by the NGT till date. Over 9.76 million MT of extracted coal have also been transported out of the 11,02,950 MT coal allowed for transportation.