SHILLONG, Oct 3: The Association of Meghalaya Traders and Transporters on Wednesday petitioned the Meghalaya government on the illegal transportation of coal and limestone to industrial areas in East Jaintia Hills.
According to the association, absence of revenue checkpoints or check gates en-route the cement factories to check mineral laden trucks supplying raw materials to the factories have given huge undue benefits to those factories.
“Coal and lime stones supplied by local suppliers to cement factories are not taxed nor any accounts are kept by any government authorities. On top of that, there is no concession on the cost of cement sold within the state of Meghalaya, infact, cement produced in Jaintia Hills are sold at a cheaper rate in Assam than what is sold in Khliehriat,” the association stated in its memorandum to Chief Minister Conrad Sangma.
The Association of Meghalaya Traders and Transporters estimated that if one has to calculate at the rate of 25 MT of coal per truck per day, it will come to about 1,186,250 Metric Tonnes of coal yearly.
“This means that state government and central government are losing that much taxes and royalty yearly from coal supplied to cement factories only in East Jaintia hills district,” the association stated in its memorandum.
The association again pointed out that if one has to calculate at the rate of 30 MT of limestone per truck per day at 365 days a year it comes out to 8,760,000 Metric Tonnes annually.
“Similarly this would mean that state government and central government are losing that much taxes and royalty yearly from limestone supplied to cement factories only in East Jaintia hills district,” the Association of Meghalaya Traders and Transporters pointed out.
The association said that from such leaked income if properly tapped, the state will be able to construct at least 100 kms of good roads every year in East Jaintia hills district.
The association also aleged that the government is turning blind eye to both revenue leakage from minerals supplied to cement industries and also in bringing down the fuel cost in the state.
In the memorandum to the Chief Minister it pointed out that tapping of revenue leakage from minerals supplied to cement industries will enable the government to cut tax rates of fuels like petrol and diesels.
The association also suggested that the government should come up with a policy to protect local transporters.
“While giving various subsidies to the cement and other factories, proper agreement should be made so that preference is given to local transporters to transport the products from various Industries located across the state. As of now, transporters from Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and other states are preferred by the cement factories in Jaintia Hills and local transporters are sidelined mostly,” the Association of Meghalaya Traders and Transporters added.
Moreover, the association also stated that there is absolutely too little employment opportunity for local people in all the cement factories.