Pointing out the ‘criminal conspiracy’ with delay in the coal auctioning, the former Chief Minister and the leader of opposition in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, Dr. Mukul Sangma alleged that there is a well-scripted modus operandi to fulfill the greed of the few.
Stressing the need to put an end to illegalities, Dr. Sangma said, “We want to ensure that the coal India fulfills the responsibility as per the order of the honorable Supreme Court and proceed with and proceed with the auctioning process at the earliest.”
Questioning the delay, the former CM said, “The honorable Supreme Court has in its order said all these coals should be disposed off through auctioning, by engaging coal India limited. So why is this delay?”
“Everybody is asking why is this delay? Is it the scripted modus operandi of this Government to delay the auctioning of 32 lakh MT which was submitted in its inventory before the honorable Supreme Court? Delay and engage in this kind of corrupt practices?” the LO asked.
Reiterating the need for an independent investigation into the coal scam, the Opposition Congress on Wednesday demanded that the process of auctioning the 32 lakh metric tons of extracted coal should be done on one go instead of doing it in a piecemeal manner.
This came after a fresh dumping of coal consignment was detected during an inspection led by the Leader of Opposition, Mukul Sangma in West Jaintia Hills, and East Jaintia Hills district.
Pointing to the coal lying in one of the sites at Khliehrangnah as to verify the claim of the government that there is over 1.41 lakh MT unclaimed coal, Sangma said “This figure is predetermined and therefore, you see (this) fresh dumping of consignment…It is almost like the government is getting caught red-handed.”
He said after verification, the quantity of coal could be around 30,000 to 40,000 metric tons only.
On June 23, the Divisional Mining Officer had filed an FIR based on the complaint received from Damehi Lamare by DC, West Jaintia Hills District alleging fresh extraction and dumping of coal at Khliehrangnah area (WJH), in violation of the Supreme Court order.
The former chief minister said that he is 100 percent sure that the 32 lakh MT of coal as claimed by the state government in its inventory submitted before the Supreme Court does not exist.
“Therefore, this process of auctioning the 32 lakh MT of coal should be on one go and not in piecemeal because that will delay the process of auctioning and transportation of the consignment which is claimed to be existing,” he said.
According to him, auctioning of coal in piecemeal is another modus operandi designed by the state government and that must not be allowed.
Asked, Sangma said there is a need to have a proper investigation to unearth the angle of criminal conspiracy as the illegal mining and transportation of coal is being carried out under the behest of some powerful people.
“This must be investigated to defend the state from all the infamous distasteful narratives.”
“We will also have to ask Coal India Limited and we will have to put pressure on the National Green Tribunal (on the delay to auction) because so long you delay this illegality will go on and they will make a mockery of the law. It is also questionable whether the Supreme Court’s ruling passed on July 3, last year can be kept hanging and doesn’t it amount to contempt of court order,” he said.
“Is it a scripted modus operandi of the state government to delay this auctioning of the 32 lakh MT so as to engage in this kind of corruption,” he added.
Stating that legal mining is crucial, the former chief minister said, “Please understand that unless legal mining starts early, the state is going to have serious problems. The operational part of the Supreme Court’s ruling also asked the government to ensure legal mining which is completely scientific and conforming to statutory laws in respect of the environment, safety, and health.” EOM