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TURA | JAN 13, 2020:

Despite Supreme Court ban on transportation of coal, the coal traders in West Khasi Hills have now begin to supply coal in the form of coke. The SC in its order had ban transportation of coal, other than those already extracted from various sites under the guidance of the NGT committee.

According to locals, there are more than a dozen such industries that have been coal to form coke before the same is transported to either Assam or other states. Surprisingly while the entire operation is out in the open, as the owners do not feel the need to fear the NGT or SC ban, nothing has been done by anyone in authority to put a stop to the illegal act.

“They are not making coke from wood to transport. They have to use coal. So the big question is why this act is being allowed to carry on despite the orders of the SC and NGT,” asked a resident on the condition of anonymity.

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Sources said that close to 20 such industries have come up in the last two years, in an effort to beat the NGT ban on coal mining and transport. In the village of Shallang, a truck driver said he knew of at least 5 such factories with most of them close to the National Highway – 44. Some of them can even be seen while travelling on the route.

Further confusion among district authorities over what is allowed and what is not has also led to no one stopping vehicles. Most of the trucks –which carry about 20 tonnes of payload, have not been stopped by mining or police authorities, with no one, very conveniently, taking the time to find out if the making of coke or its transport is even allowed.

“They just carry local challans and GST details when transporting. Given that they are using coal to make coke, what about mining royalty. This is another way that the state is losing huge revenue. Another question is where did the coal come from,” asked a resident of Dainadubi in NGH, through which more than 30 trucks have been plying on a daily basis?

Residents have further asked as to how when transport of coal is banned, how is coke allowed?

“Is coke exempted by the NGT or SC for transport? They should make this very clear. Everyone will move their business into coke then,” said another Dainadubi resident, SN Marak.

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