Constitute Independent Panel To Stop Unlawful Coal-Mining Immediately : Meghalaya HC To Chief Secretary

 

  • NET Web Desk

The Meghalaya Chief Secretary (CS) has been ordered by the High Court to ensure that unlawful mining activities are stopped as soon as possible, and that a panel free of political interference be constituted to monitor the orders and recommendations forwarded by the Supreme Court on the issue.

After a recent visit to East Jaintia Hills district with Chief Secretary R V Suchiang to examine the circumstances in connection with illegal mining activities in the area, the three-member full bench of the High Court took up the case.

“The chief secretary and director general of police have filed reports showing that some actions have been taken. However, it is clear that the Supreme Court’s instructions have not been followed. It is vital to keep an eye on the mining operations.” – the HC bench said on Monday.

The court found it odd that the state did not employ drone photography to monitor mining activities in less accessible locations, and thereby slammed the district administration, magistrates, sub-divisional officers, and block level officers, as well as their police counterparts.

“All of them turned a Nelson’s eye to such illegal activities. It is safe to say that the scenario in and around Khliehriat reflects the administration’s lack of control over broad swaths of land. It is unlikely that unlawful mining and the deposit of newly extracted coal could be carried out with such impunity without the possible complicity of the local administration, or even worse, without the involvement of the police.” – the bench said.

The bench asked the chief secretary to deal particularly with each of the Supreme Court’s and the NGT’s orders and recommendations, and to file a report during the next hearing on April 4.

According to the court, the state has done “very little” to ensure that previously mined coal is transported and auctioned through Coal India Limited in accordance with Supreme Court and NGT orders.