Meghalaya Govt silent on illegal coal mining

The Opposition Congress has raised a questioned to the State Government over call for an independent investigation into the allegations of illegal mining and transportation of coal.

Congress MLA from Mawryngkneng constituency, David Nongrum asked, “I don’t know why the government is scared of having a probe or an inquiry. If they think they are right and have not done anything wrong, why not have an independent probe or inquiry?”.

Nongrum said, “If you are hiding, trying to defend yourself by saying you have not done anything, means there is something wrong”.

Recently requirements were pressed for an independent investigation into illegal mining and transportation of coal by Opposition Congress, political leaders and civil society groups after a series of allegations surfaced

The state government has claimed that the allegations were without any base and they rejected the investigation of the charges.

Nongrum said, “Why is Bah Prestone defending? …We brought the facts out. Just 10 days back we had gone to Jaintia Hills where the district mineral officer showed us the coordinates of the location of the coal. We had gone to all those depots and also calculated the coal, which is roughly about 15,000 metric tonnes”.

He questioned that, “I am saying even if you keep out 20,000 metric tonnes and look at the amount of coal they have measured through the department (1,41,000 metric tonnes), so where is the 1,20,000 metric tons? And why are you not auctioning the 22,000 metric tonnes….. Why are you delaying it when the Supreme Court has passed the order to auction it since June?”.

Nongrum said, “In Garo Hills and West Khasi Hills they don’t show. Why should they auction the coal so fast? It is because they won’t benefit. I will tell you earlier there were only three or four people who were benefitting. I know for a fact that now in Jaintia Hills, only one particular family is benefitting.”

The Jaintia Trucks Association has also claimed about the illegal transportation of coal, “but they are helpless”, Nongrum pointed out.

He said, “They have their coal and also supply illegally but at a huge cost and without the government getting any revenue. Who is losing? It is not just the government but they are also losing”. He added that, only Rs 5000 as against Rs 60,000 to Rs 70,000 were earned per truck. On the other hand, coal mafias were earning Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh from each truck.

Nongrum alleged, “Mafia-political nexus and money is going to turn our state into a state of lawlessness. All the other states are improving and we are going backwards,”