The Garo Indigenous Development Federation (GIDF) and Garoland State Movement Committee (GSMC) has petitioned Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma to crack down on illegal activities in the region, especially damage to National Highway 62 due to overloaded trucks carrying coal, cement, boulders and other commercial vehicles.
“NH-62 is damaged due to the plying of overloaded coal trucks as well as other commercial trucks,” the groups said.
The GIDF and GSMC also said that, due to laxity on the part of the State government, illegal activities are continuing unabated and this is leading to the dilapidated condition of the highway.
The groups also alleged that the majority of coal trucks using the highway do not have valid documentation to transport coal.
The GIDF and GSMC said that it has come to learn from reliable sources that, even after the ban on rat-hole mining by the National Green Tribunal, coal mining continues apace in West Khasi Hills. They claimed that coal is disguised as coke and transported from Shallang via Riangdo and Attiabari to Assam, as well as from Shallang via Rongjeng and Dainadubi to Assam.
The groups also alleged that cattle smuggling is rampant from Assam, via Meghalaya, to Bangladesh.
“The cattle are brought from the state of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Bihar daily, for a total of 500 to 1,000, and then transported to Bangladesh,” the letter said.
Smugglers pack the cattle into the trucks under inhuman conditions, which caused injury to the animals.
Meanwhile, the groups also alleged that the truckers have to pay bribes to the police, the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council, the Directorate of Mineral Resources and other authorities along the route, even as it urged an inquiry into the matter.
The GIDF and GSMC also alleged that the Mineral Transport Challan is being sold for Rs 75,000 to Rs 80,000 openly in the Dainadubi area.