'Government will not allow illegal coal business in state'
GUWAHATI: Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma spelled it out in clear terms that the State government would not allow any illegal business with the coal produced in the state, nor would it restrict the movement of coal bound for other states of the country from Assam's neighbouring states.
Addressing the Assembly today, the Chief Minister said, "The restriction on the movement of coal in the state affected the industrial sector badly. We will hold an all-party meeting in January and decide some reliefs for the industrial sector. We will issue an SOP (standard operating procedure) in this regard.
"Coal from Meghalaya and other states goes outside the Northeast via Assam. The Assam Police does not have to spend time checking the movement of such coal-laden trucks. Checking the legality of such coal is up to the states that send and receive the consignments. However, I will seek legal opinions if we can restrict the movement of coal from other states through Assam. Our ties with the neighbouring states turn sour when we restrict the movement of their coal. I have received a complaint that trucks coming from Mizoram have to pay Rs 8,000 each at Patharkandi.
"However, we are firm not to allow any illegal business with the coal produced in Margherita, Dima Hasao, Karbi Anglong etc., in the state. The Mines and Minerals Corporation has allotted extraction of around 35,000 MT of coal from Dima Hasao to private companies by floating tender. The hill district will get the revenue out of this for developmental purposes.
"Brick kilns, tea gardens, cement factories etc., informed me that the scarcity of coal has affected their productions. If they fetch coal from Jharkhand, the cost will be high. Coal is an industrial input. I'm worried about this problem. So, I will call an all-party meeting next month to discuss ways to make coal available for the industrial sector in the state. A section of people in the state views the movement of every truck of coal as illegal. That section needs to erase that mindset."