SHILLONG, Apr 22: The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India for the year ended March 31, 2017 has revealed that the Mining and Geology department failed to realise royalty amounting to Rs 51.78 crore on 7.67 lakh metric ton of assessed coal.
It may be mentioned that in Meghalaya, coal mining was banned by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) from April 2014.
The NGT, inter alia constituted a committee to assess the actual quantity of coal extracted by the mine owners before the ban came into effect and also frame the guidelines for transportation of the assessed coal.
The committee accordingly framed the guidelines in September, 2014 for transportation of the extracted coal.
Thereafter Meghalaya’s mining department, directed in November 2014 that payment of the royalty on the declared/assessed coal should be made by the mine owners within 45 days from the date of issue of permits by the Directorate of Mineral Resources (DMR).
The CAG report stated that it was observed during the audit (March 2017) that there were 3394 mine owners in East and West Jaintia Hills districts under the jurisdiction of the Divisional Mining Officer (DMO).
The committee assessed coal at 40.38 lakh metric ton in respect of 2053 of the mine owners.
“Thus, the royalty amounting to Rs 272.57 crore was realizable on this assessed quantity. Against which, the DMO realised royalty amounting to Rs 220.79 crore on 32.71 lakh metric ton, thereby resulting in non-realisation of royalty of Rs 51.78 crore on 7.67 lakh metric ton of coal,” the report stated.
The information pertaining to assessed coal in respect of mine owners and details of royalty paid by the mine owners against such assessed coal was available in the case records.
The CAG report stated, “The DMO, however, did not take any action either to direct the mine owners to deposit the balance royalty or take action against the mine owners for non-payment of royalty on the balance quantity of coal.”
The report said that the inaction on the part of the DMO apart from leading to non-realisation of the royalty amounting to Rs 51.78 crore also led to losing on the penalty of Rs 12.95 crore (penalty at 25 percent of royalty amount for nonpayment of royalty) which was leviable.
The case was reported to the Mining and Geology department in May 2017, and reminded in July 2017 and January 2018 but no reply was received till February this year.
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