Garo groups urge CM to take action against illegalities in state

Shillong, Jan 15: The Garo Indigenous Development Federation (GIDF) and Garoland State Movement Committee (GSMC) today wrote to Chief Minister Conrad Sangma urging him to look into ‘illegalities’ including alleged rat hole mining taking place in West Khasi Hills.

The groups alleged that despite a ban on rat hole coal mining in the state, by the National Green Tribunal, trucks have been transporting 48-50 metric tonnes of coal from Shallang via Riangdo, Attiabari to Assam.

The letter signed by GIDF Secretary, G.N Sangma, and GSMC Chairman, R.R Marak read that trucks were loading coal packed in coke bags to conceal it from authorities.

It added that National Highway 62 has been damaged due to overloaded coal trucks and overloaded commercial trucks plying the highway without check despite the presence of a state government office.

The groups claimed that they received information from reliable sources about cattle smuggling via Meghalaya to Bangladesh.

“The cattle are brought from the state of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Bihar daily with total of 500 to 1000 cattle and then it is transported to Bangladesh and are sold at maximum prices of Rs.50000/- per head making it a lucrative illegal business for smugglers,” it read.

Further, they added, “As per the norms violation of Prevention of cruelty to Animal Act, 1960 the permissible limit per truck is 16 cows in total and as per the guidelines, traders cannot carry more than 200 kilograms per truck. But the smugglers load double the number of cattle into truck and transport them in an inhuman manner, causing overloading and injury to the cows.”

The groups also stated that they have received complaints from truck owners, that police stations in Garo Hills were charging them thousands of rupees despite having the required transport challans.

Moreover, they claimed that mineral transport challans were being sold for Rs. 75,000 to 80,000 openly in the Dainadubi Area.