An organisation from South West Khasi Hills district has raised objections against the administration after one Additional Deputy Commissioner of the district auctioned off more than 26,000 metric tons of ‘seized coal’ which the organisation alleged did not even exist in the first place.
In a complaint filed with the Chairman of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) today, Sangra Marak, the president of United Achik Youth Forum (UAYF) has alleged that there was falsification of information about the presence of coal in the Borsora area, where the administration had said the coal was.
The extracted coal, as per the administration, was from the two-lane road project that is ongoing between Lailad (Borsora) to Nongjri in the same district.
As per the order by the Directorate of Mineral Resources, the ‘coal stock’ had been auctioned and was won by one Skingford Nongbri, who was allowed to transport 50 per cent of the amount (26,512 metric tons) and 600 challans were issued to him. The order allowing the lifting of the coal had been made on October 1.
“There is no such quantity of coal that lies unclaimed and extracted during the process of road construction. We object to the fact that when the coal does not exist, how can the Additional Deputy Commissioner of Ranikor civil sub division hold an auction,” Marak asked.
The organisation further asked the NGT members based in Shillong to physically verify if such quantity of coal was actually extracted.
“If it is found that the coal does not exist, then the government should refund the amount to the bidder that has already been paid to the State through RTGS as otherwise it will restart the illegal mining and transportation of coal from Borsora once again,” said Marak in his complaint sent today.
Marak further asked the NGT committee to cancel the lifting order after physical verification if the amount of coal in the area is lesser than the quantity of coal stated in the winning bid.
The latest case of coal assessment mismatch comes in the wake of the opposition calling out the NPP-led State government over assessment of coal not matching with the quantity in reality.
The leader of the opposition, Dr. Mukul Sangma himself recently visited two sites, one in East Garo Hills and another in Jaintia Hills, where the quantity of assessed coal and the actual quantity at the sites, allegedly differed.