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Meghalaya permitting mining under “garb” of transportation: NGT

NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal today pulled up the Meghalaya government saying it was allowing mining in the state under the “garb” of coal transportation. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said there was rampant illegal coal mining going on in the state despite various prohibitory orders passed by it. “Local commissioners appointed by the tribunal have submitted reports indicating that there is illegal mining going on in the state. Under the garb of transportation, you leave your extracted coal and take out coal from the mines. This is mockery of our orders,” the bench said.

On December 23, last year, the green panel had extended the time for transportation of extracted coal in Meghalaya till May 15 and fixed February 15 as the last date for payment of royalty after the state government informed it that if extracted coal is not transported before the rainy reason then it may cause pollution in rivers.

It had, however, said the extension was being given for the last time and this be treated as final opportunity to the state government. It had also directed the Meghalaya government to submit mining guidelines to Ministry of Coal within four weeks. During today proceedings, the Meghalaya government told the tribunal that it was taking all steps to ensure that there is no illegal mining and there is proper check on the transportation of coal. The green bench has prohibited mining in the entire state of Meghalaya but allowed transportation of extracted coal kept in the open with due “checks and balances”.

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