Meghalaya: Mukul alleges govt-cartel nexus to support illegal coal mining in state



Leader of the Opposition, Dr Mukul Sangma has lambasted the state authorities over what he alleged was a nexus between the government and coal mafia to support illegal coal mining and transportation.

Sangma stated this after visiting the site of the coal depot where East Garo Hills (EGH) authorities auctioned coal in January this year on Thursday.

The site of the coal dump, which has remained unclaimed despite a Court seeking claimants for it, is at Nengkhra Agalgre, about 17 kilometres from the district headquarter of Williamnagar in EGH.

Congress MLA, WD Sangma as well as former MLAs Sengnam Marak and Francis Pondit Sangma accompanied Sangma. The highly-publicised visit also witnessed the presence of the Deputy Commissioner of EGH, Swapnil Tembe and the District’s Mining Officer (DMO).

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As per the reports of the DMO, an amount of over 34,000 MT was supposed to have been auctioned. The coal has not been moved since the Meghalaya High Court had put a stop to coal transport until further orders.

However, not more than 5000 MT of coal was at the site, showing how illegal mining and transportation was taking place despite the CM Conrad Sangma claiming otherwise, said the Opposition leader.

“From our estimates, there is not more than 5000 MT of coal. This only means that either the coal has already been transported or the coal was never there. This shows that there is active connivance between all parties involved in this illegality and, there may have been an attempt to escape paying a royalty,” said Sangma.

The Opposition leader further questioned the route decided for the transport which as per the challans issued was to move through Nongstoin – Shillong – Guwahati whereas, the normal route was through Dainadubi in NGH through to Assam.

However, sources claimed that royalty for 34,000 MT was paid to the Directorate of Mineral Resources (DMR) and the route for transportation was chosen by the awardee, who bagged the award for the auctioned coal.

Meanwhile, the former CM stated that he would take up the matter of illegal mining and transportation of coal and, would also send a letter to the Chief Secretary.

“We cannot allow this to happen. We have built the state and set new benchmarks in good governance. We will seek ways to counter this illegality,” he stated.

Hitting out at the CM, Conrad Sangma over his denial of illegal coal mining in the state, Mukul said that repeated denials were being made by the CM, despite the people trying to bring this to the attention of the government.

“We have seen the response of the government and, this has even been discussed in the August House. There has hardly been any attempt to verify the substance behind the allegations. They just continue stonewalling,” he added.