NGT TO DECIDE THE FATE OF COAL MINING IN MEGHALAYA TODAY

YASHASWANI SEHRAWAT
Wednesday, March 25,2015

NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) will finally pronounce its orders today on transportation of the extracted coal as well as reopening of coal mining in the state of Meghalaya after three days of hearing and deliberation on the matter.

“The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has heard all parties on the ban and after three days will provide its set of new orders to be carried out tomorrow (Wednesday)”, informed Saurabh Sharma, the advocate for mining contractors.

“The NGT bench has never stated that the ban was a permanent one. They wanted the coal extraction to be regularized through a mining plan. The delay in the submission of the mining plan is the reason for the ban on coal extraction for now. The Bench has also given a deadline of April 16th to the state to submit a mining plan for review”, he added.

Sharma further stated that the state government has been asked to not blame the NGT for its failure to reopen mining in the state.

Meanwhile, the representatives of the Meghalaya government are expected to leave Delhi on Wednesday with the order of the NGT.

However, Sharma informed that the order for transportation of extracted coal may not be given as the NGT wanted the state to complete the mining plan. “There is a feeling that if transportation is extended further, the state may again delay the creation and submission of a mining plan. So there may be disappointment for the transportation of coal that has already been extracted as the NGT tries to pressure the state government in submitting the mining plan”, he said.

As per reports, an amount of more than Rs 30 crores has been paid already, in advance, by coal miners of the state in hope of orders for the transportation of coal. There is however no clarity on whether the money would be returned to the coal miners if the order for transportation is not passed on Wednesday.

The NGT had on April 17 issued orders to the Meghalaya state government to immediately stop rat-hole and other illegal coal mining, as also transportation of coal extracted through such methods. The ban was issued following a complaint by the All Dimasa Students’ Union of the adjoining Dima Hasao district of Assam, which contended that rat-hole mining in Meghalaya had polluted the Kopili river and turned its water poisonous.

On January 29 this year, it directed the Meghalaya government to submit a complete report adopted for the purpose of promoting scientific and permissible mining of coal which was banned last year.



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