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Truckloads of ‘Legal tag’ To Illegal Coal in Assam

Truckloads of ‘Legal tag’ To Illegal Coal in Assam

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  28 March 2019 3:15 AM GMT

GUWAHATI: Truckloads of ‘illegal coal’ attached with ‘legal label’ pass through Assam amidst the entire monitoring mechanism day in, day out with ten to one chance of being caught. This is what allegations say on the inter-State coal syndicate.

The Supreme Court of India banned coal mining in Meghalaya. Even as the ban is in force in the neighbouring State, coal is illegally transported to other States from there through Assam.

The modus operandi is – Meghalaya coal, shown as old stock, is carried to the Assam border and stocked near Byrnihat. According to sources, a racket in Assam gives the coal a ‘legal label’ by issuing challans. If one coal-laden truck is caught, according to sources, over ten such trucks are let off the hook by the monitoring apparatus in Assam. The racket knows how to take the best of the loopholes in the monitoring mechanism. Tax can be paid within three months. When trucks of various firms are allowed to pass through Assam without charging tax on the condition that it will be paid within three months, a section of the firms gets abolished before completion of three months only to come up again with different names, it is alleged. According to sources, such an unholy practice is very much prevalent in Assam. The moot question is: at whose blessings?

There is yet another practice of tax evasion. Coal bound for Nepal is exempted from all taxes in accordance with the agreement reached between India and Nepal. A section of coal traders and firms send coal from Assam to other States issuing challans for Nepal. Even as the challans show the coal is bound for Nepal, the truckers actually unload the consignment somewhere in Assam or Bihar, evading tax. Meghalaya coal goes to Nepal, Bangladesh, Bihar, West Bengal etc via Assam by adopting a whole lot illegal means with ‘legal labels’, sources said. The monitoring mechanism in Assam comprises transport officials, tax officials and police personnel.

Sleuths of the Kamrup (M) DTO caught eight overloaded coal-laden trucks on Monday night in Guwahati. However, who keeps counts of eight of tens such overloaded trucks go unnoticed?

The State CID is investigating a case (06/2018 under section 120(B)/379/420/468/171 IPC read with Section 13(2) of PC Act read with Section 25/40/41 Assam Forest Regulation Act added Section 119 IPC). So far, 18 vehicles –14 in Guwahati and four in Digarkhal –have been seized, besides arresting 18 people – 11 officials and seven others.

According to sources, a part charge sheet is ready in the case, and the CID is going to submit it to the special court soon.

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