The Meghalaya People’s Labour Union (MPLU) has written to Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma requesting immediate action to be taken against “blatant and rampant” illegal trade and transportation of coal in East Jaiñtia Hills.
The letter, shared with the press today but dated December 15, was signed by MPLU President and lawyer Erwin K Syiem Sutnga and two others in the organisation.
Transporting coal this way “is a clear violation of the orders of the NGT (National Green Tribunal) and the Supreme Court”, the letter said. “This is going on with the connivance, sharing and blessings of ‘high-level’ players, which is the common parlance.”
The problems this has caused, according to the MPLU, include economic disparity between those with “high-level” connections, who can get their coal out of the state, and those who do not. “Coal trucks which do not belong to or have permission or clearance by the high-level players are arrested and booked under the law,” the letter said.
The union also alleged that police on the border take back the coal challan from the truck driver in order for it to be illegally reused multiple times.
In its meeting in Khliehriat on December 8, the MPLU’s Jaiñtia Hills committee resolved to write to the CM calling for an immediate end to the illegal activities.
“If coal is to be transported then let it be done freely without this criminal illegal taxing of the people, which allows only the members of this illegal coal business nexus having official patronage to make huge sums of ill-gotten money at the expense of the common people,” it said.
If action is not taken, the MPLU added that it would launch an agitation three days after the receipt of the letter.