Leader of the opposition, Dr Mukul Sangma, inspected another coal dump today, this time at Khliehrangnah, West Jaiñtia Hills and once again alleged that illegal coal-related activities are being carried out in the state.
There is reportedly 1.41 lakh tonne of coal at the site, but Dr Sangma estimated that the true amount is closer to 40,000 tonnes. He also claimed that the coal there looked like it had been freshly dug out, which could mean that it was the result of recent and illegal mining.
Last week the former Chief Minister had also visited a coal dump in East Garo Hills and alleged that there was less coal there than the government claimed. His charge was that either the coal that the government claimed to be at the site had already been transported (contravening a Supreme Court order) or was never there in the first place; the latter possibility would allow for newly mined (and thus illegal) coal to make up the shortfall.
Dr Sangma also visited the coal auction site at Khliehriat, East Jaiñtia Hills where 19,000 tonnes had been auctioned.
The state government has claimed that there is 32 lakh tonnes of coal lying unclaimed in the state. Dr Sangma retorted, after his last inspection, that he would resign from politics if this amount was the true figure.
The coal is meant to be auctioned by Coal India Ltd under the supervision of the National Green Tribunal.
“Why this [process] is being delayed is the biggest question,” Dr Sangma said today. “This delay is responsible for facilitating these kinds of illegalities.”
He also said that the Congress will urge the NGT and Coal India to expedite the process of auctioning the coal, which will not only help put a halt to corruption but financially aid miners whose coal is otherwise stuck in limbo.