Illegal coal mining: LO urges CS to initiate legal proceedings

Shillong, Jan 14: Leader of Opposition, Dr. Mukul Sangma has written to Meghalaya Chief Secretary, M.S Rao urging him to initiate legal proceedings as per relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, in relation to alleged illegal coal mining and transportation in the state.

He added that laws under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 should be enforced to prevent illegal coal mining and transportation and punish perpetrators behind the alleged crime.

Dr. Mukul validated the request by stating that during his visit to Khliehrangnah, Shangpung, West Jaintia Hills on 28th October 2020, he found that illegal coal mining is still taking place.

He wrote that truck loads of coal dumped in the said location were counted jointly by the Deputy Commissioner, Jowai and Divisional Mining Officer, Jowai in presence of the team lead by him.

“The respective truck loads, which were dumped in a scattered manner, were counted jointly by the Deputy Commissioner, Jowai and Divisional Mining Officer, Jowai in presence of the team lead by me and a manuscripted copy indicating the number of truck loads duly signed on the spot by both DC, Jowai and DMO, Jowai,” the letter read. 

“The total quantity counted was 1064 truck loads and each truck load must be in the range of 12 – 16 MTs,” it read.

He stated that this reveals the fact that the actual quantity of coal at the site was less than 20,000 MTs, while the enquiry report of the DMO, Jowai dated 2 June 2020, indicated 1,41,000 MT (approximately) as per the figure available in the copy of the replies  to an RTI filed by one S.N Marak.

His visit, Dr. Mukul, claimed proved that huge quantities of coal – as submitted in the enquiry report of the Divisional Mining Officer, Jowai, indicating 1,41,000 MT – have disappeared resulting in ‘serious loss of government revenue.’

He added that the same instance of illegality in respect to illegal coal mining and transportation of illegally mined coal without any royalty to the government was brought through to the notice of government through press briefing and also in course of proceedings in the floor of the house during the last Assembly Session in November 2020, however the government remained silent and refused to act for the interest of the state.

A copy of the letter was also forwarded by the Leader of Opposition to Chief Justice, Supreme Court of India, Chief Justice of High court of Meghalaya, Chairman, National Green Tribunal and Meghalaya Lokayukta Chairman.