Meghalaya: Transportation of extracted coal extended till May 15
SHILLONG: No extracted coal would be allowed to be transported from Meghalaya after May 15 when the state government will take over it and the same will be sold or auctioned, the National Green Tribunal has said.
The green panel, however, allowed the state government's plea seeking extension of time for payment of royalty along with environmental charges to the Meghalaya Environmental Restoration Fund from February 15 till April 15.
"We specifically decline to extend the date for transportation of the coal already extracted. No coal in any form whatsoever shall be permitted to be transported after May 15, 2016 on which date the entire remaining coal shall vest in the State government and shall be disposed of in accordance with law subject to due protection and care for environment and prevention of pollution resulting there from, either by washing of coal or by transportation," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
During the proceedings, Meghalaya government said it has taken up the matter with regard to mining policy and environmental restoration with the Centre.
"The Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Coal of central government has decided to visit the site in question as well as to have deliberation with the State Government where upon the said mining plan would be finalised and published. He prays for time for this purpose. The counsel appearing for the MoEF as well as Coal Ministry submit that they would expedite the matter," the bench noted.
It also appointed five advocates as local commissioners, in addition to earlier commisioners, and directed them to conduct surprise inspection in the areas where mining activity was being carried out.
"The state government in consultation with the MoEF, shall submit a report within four weeks mentioning as to what steps they are proposing to take for restoration of the environment and ecology, particularly protection of water bodies resulting from legal or illegal mining, unscientific or unregulated mining that has taken place in the previous years," the bench added.
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 had said if the extracted coal is not transported before the rainy reason, then it may cause pollution in rivers.