SHILLONG, Apr 16: Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma on Monday informed the Meghalaya Assembly that his government is proposing several measures to check the issue of counterfeit challans by unscrupulous coal transporters.
Replying to a call attention motion tabled by Congress MLA from Mawsynram, Himalaya Shangpliang, on reports of forged transport challans in circulation in East Garo Hills, Conrad said that the Government will review and streamline the administrative processes and procedures currently in place for issuance of the Mineral Transport Challans (MTCs).
“(We are) mulling the introduction of enhanced security features apart from the hologram like implementation of barcode with hologram, tamper evident hologram with DNA based with hand held taggant detectors used for product authentication and verification of genuine product chemical which would go a long way in improving the existing system,” the Chief Minister said.
According to him, the issue of forged or counterfeit Mineral Transport Challans (MTCs) being used by unscrupulous coal transporters has engaged the Government for a long time.
Conrad also said that the Government is aware of the magnitude of the problem and the negative impact of counterfeiting of MTCs in terms of loss of revenue to the state exchequer, emergence of profiteers and the scope for illegal coal activities.
Conrad also told the House that stringent measures have been taken from time to time to contain such malpractices, like the introduction of holograms on the Challans as one of the security features.
He said that holograms has helped in the detection of fake challans and has been a deterrent to a great extent against such offences by the coal transporters.
“With the introduction of this security
feature, a number of counterfeit challans have been detected since holograms are difficult to forge as they require expensive, specialized and technologically advanced equipment,” the Chief Minister said.
Conrad also informed the House that the staff and officers in charge of the checkgates are well oriented with the security feature (in the challans) and are able to easily authenticate the genuineness of the MTCs and in most cases are able to detect any fake challans submitted by the coal transporters during spot checking at the check gates.
The Chief Minister also said that necessary instructions are issued to the field officers to remain vigilant against such practices and file FIRs immediately when such cases are detected.
He however, said that there are many challenges but the Government is committed to also pursue all the cases (of fake challans) so far registered and speed up the investigative work so as to ensure that the culprits are brought to book and such criminal activities are stopped.
Conrad assured the House that necessary enquiries will be conducted in this matter which has appeared in the newspaper clipping so as to ascertain if possible, the source of such fake MTCs and exemplary action will taken against the defaulters.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister also informed that counterfeit challans have been detected in Dainadubi checkgate, North Garo Hills, Mawpun Checkgate, West Khasi Hills, and Shangbangla Checkgate, Ri Bhoi District.
In such cases the Mines Royalty Inspector in charge of the respective check gates has filed complaints and FIR against the defaulters and cases have been registered against such culprits under relevant sections of the IPC.
He also informed the House that bulk detection was made at the Divisional Mining Office, Jowai when a person in possession of 100 MTCs without realising that the Challans were fake came for revalidation of the Challans at the office of the DMO, Jowai.
The DMO, Jowai immediately take custody of the fake Challans and in this connection, an FIR was lodged by the victim in possession of the counterfeit Challans at Mawlai Police Station.
“The Government is seeking a status report on the outcome of the investigations in all such police cases and efforts will be intensified to locate the source of the counterfeit MTCs,” Conrad said.
Earlier, initiating the debate on the call-attention-motion, Shangpliang said that fake challans used to transport coal has huge implication to the state’s revenue.