Meghalaya | It’s Coal not Coke: Coke trucks start plying in NH 62


TURA | May 28, 2020:

After the Meghalaya High Court had allowed a clearance of coal trucks that have been lined up on the National Highway – 62, the trucks carrying coke have taken advantage of this by transporting coke from many factories near Shallang in West Khasi Hills.

As per sources, 2 coke trucks were detected travelling with a full load on the highway on May 25.

Rickchy Sangma a resident of Rongjeng, immediately informed the officer in charge of Rongjeng, who then promptly called the Rongmil OGC to stop and detain the trucks in East Garo Hills district.

"I was told that the matter was then informed to the administration and we were all surprised when the trucks were let go the next morning. When we asked, we were told that they had the requisite papers and the administration had allowed the trucks to go. This came as an absolute surprise," said Rickchy.

Not surprisingly 2 more trucks carrying coke once again came to the highway. 

"This time they were stopped and have been detained by the police. We are not sure if they will be allowed to go as well but we will not be surprised if they are let go as well," said Sainsborn G Momin, the GSU Rongjeng unit secretary, who was amongst those that informed the police on the matter. 

Sangma stated that the movement of such trucks at the time of COVID – 19 posed a huge risk while also expressing surprise as to how coke was being allowed to be produced despite the state knowing fully well that the product uses coal. 

"When mining of coal is banned, how come coke is being produced in WKH? Further, a huge amount of the state's revenue is being lost as nothing is being charged as royalty for the coal that is being used to produce coke. Something seems dysfunctional in the system," said Tuesbrial Marak, secretary of ASWA, an NGO who was also an eye witness. 

The administrations of both East and North Garo Hills however denied any orders to allow transport of coke had been taken out. 

Interestingly the destination of the coke trucks seems to be the cement plant at Damas (Billenium Cements Ltd) with the seller being from Shallang in WKH. A total of 25.9 MT and 23.3 MT were being carried in the two trucks detained today.