High court directs CS, DGP to completely arrest illegal mining of coal in Meghalaya

The Meghalaya High Court on Tuesday directed the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police to completely arrest the illegal mining of coal in the state.


“The Chief Secretary, the Director-General of Police and all other police personnel will ensure strict compliance in such regard and will not bow to any political interference in the matter,” the full bench said in its order while hearing a PIL on the matter.


The court said that the CS and the DGP will be accountable if any form of illegally mined coal is henceforth discovered in the State while directing the DGP to instruct all Superintendents of Police (SPs) in the various districts to ensure that not an ounce of illegally mined coal is allowed to pass, whether in trucks or other vehicles.


“The SPs in all districts in the State are put on notice that if illegally mined coal in the State is found to have originated in or passed through their jurisdiction, they shall be held in contempt,” it further warned.


The court said apart from the dangerous form of rat-hole mining that is undertaken, particularly in the eastern part of the State, there are murmurs that the illegally mined coal in the State is smuggled out of the State and is returned for apparent export to a neighbouring country on the basis of fabricated documents to suggest that the coal originated in some other State.


It said there are also credible reports that a substantial part of the illegally mined coal in the State is transported to other States, primarily on trucks bearing Nagaland license plates and with papers showing the coal to have been mined in some other North-Eastern State.


Indeed, it may not be any coincidence that the entire stretch of the national highway in the Goalpara district of Assam between Dudhnoi and Krishnai is littered with coal dumps on either side of the road replacing agricultural fields.


It is of significance that there are at least three roads between Dudhnoi and Krishnai that lead to Meghalaya, two of them to the North Garo Hills District and the third being a road via Paikan that goes to Tura.


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