Only coal against which challans issued can be transported
SHILLONG: The Supreme Court of India on Friday permitted the transportation of coal for which transport challans have already been issued by the Meghalaya government. The transportation of coal, according to the apex court, is only for 15 days from May 17 to 31, 2019.
The apex court pointed out that challans for transportation of coal had been issued for 1,76,655 metric tonnes of coal. While 94099 metric tonnes of coal have already been transported, 75,050 metric tonnes is still to be transported, the top court said.
“We, thus, are of the view that at present, only permission, which can be granted for transportation is of 75,050 metric tonnes,” a division bench of the Supreme Court said.
The Supreme Court’s judgment comes after a hearing on a petition filed by one Lber Laloo who wanted the ban on coal mining, imposed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) since April 2014, to be lifted. The apex court stated that it was conscious that if permission for transport of coal is granted by this Court, there is grave danger of illegal mining.
The court also warned the State government that when the transportation of the 75,050 metric tonnes takes place it has to take necessary precaution that under the guise of this permission, no other coal is transported or mined.
“The State of Meghalaya has to deliberate on the mechanism to ensure that only those, who have transport challans after order of this Court dated 04.12.2018 should be permitted to transport the coal out of the quantity of 75,050 metric tonnes as noted by Kateky Committee,” the Supreme Court said.
Meanwhile, the Court also made it clear that while permitting transportation, the State authority should maintain the details of such transportation in different registers noticing – the information of the quantity of the coal, the details of payments, the person who is transporting the coal, the person who is owner of the coal and details and date of verification certificate.
According to the Supreme Court, these details are necessary to be noted, since it is yet to take a decision that what further liability can be imposed on such coal, which is going to be transported under this order.
The Supreme Court reiterated that the State government should take appropriate precaution while granting permission for transportation and under the strength of this order, no other kind or category of coal shall be permitted to be transported.
The court also asked the State to entrust the duty to responsible officers not below the rank of deputy commissioner to ensure compliance of this order and conditions to be fixed by the government.
On December 4 last year transportation of coal was allowed till January 31, this year but due to the incident in East Jaintia Hills district where several labourers died in a rat-hole mining, the Supreme Court stopped the transport on January 15.
Also read: Meghalaya news