NGT committee approves transportation of 2 lakh MT of coal

Meghalaya CM
    Shillong, Mar 12 (PTI) Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad
Sangma on Thursday said a committee of the National Green
Tribunal (NGT) has approved transportation of two lakh metric
tonne of coal in the state on condition that safety and
environment norms will be followed.
    The NGT committee headed by Justice (Retd) B D Agarwal
which met here on Thursday has given the nod for
transportation of the two lakh MT of coal on a pilot basis in
four districts, the chief minister said.
    "I am happy to inform stakeholders of coal in our
state that the NGT committee has approved on a pilot basis to
auction 2 lakh metric tonne out of 32 lakh metric tonne of
coal. In East Jaintia Hill 75,000 MT, in West Khasi Hills
50,000 MT, South West Khasi Hills 25,000 MT and in South Garo
Hills 50,000 MT," he told reporters.
    Sangma said, "Transparent online auctioning... will be
conducted by the government-owned MSTC Limited (Metal Scrap
and Trading Corporation). Government of Meghalaya has no role
to play in the auctioning process."
    According to the chief minister, the state is likely
to benefit by least Rs 20 crore as revenue from the process.
    Of the total auction, 10 per cent of the bid value
will be deducted by Coal India Limited at source while the
rest will be transferred to the state government after which
royalties will be deducted, he said, adding that the remaining
money will be transferred to the respective coal stock owner.
    The chief minister also warned that illegal extraction
or transportation of coal, if found, will attract legal
actions under section 21 of the MMDR Act 1957 (that include a
penalty of at least 5 years imprisonment).
    The NGT committee has given the nod with strict
instructions that safety and strict environmental norms will
be followed.
    The chief minister said different temporary depots
will be set up across the state to ensure that strict
environmental norms will be followed during the auctions and
during transportation of coal.
    He also said that there will be several checks and
balances like the presence of CIL officials, foolproof
security measures like the QR code, hologram, fugitive ink in
four copies of challans.
    The chief minister also informed that the state
government will soon be coming up with a procedure for
environmental friendly and scientific mining.
    "The onus now lies in the coal miners to prepare
scientific mining plans and get it approved by the Government
of India. Every miner has to go through their own process to
do that. We have started sensitizing the people. We have done
sensitizing programmes in more than five districts telling
them the same," he said.
    Sanga said consultants were identified who will guide
the miners even as the state government is also preparing a
draft environment and scientific friendly mining plan.
    Till date, four coal miners have applied for approval.
We expect many more to come. "I hope that 10-15 more will come
to us," he said.
    "We hope that things will move fast. Very soon, mining
should start depending on government of India approval," the
chief minister said. PTI JOP

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)