New allegations of illegal collections from truckers and illegal transportation of coal on National Highway 62 were made today by the Goalpara District Coal Exporters and Truck Owners Association.
The association claimed that transport of coal is being passed off as coke, while large amounts of money are “extorted” from trucks plying in Meghalaya.
“We have earlier petitioned Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma and complained against illegal coal truck syndicates, illegal transportation of coal in the name of coke and black market challans and forms by some racketeers on NH-62 but no initiative has been taken by the state government, which is a big embarrassment,” President of the association, Maznur Rahman, said at a press conference here today.
“On January 16 and 17 more than 400 trucks were plying without challans and yesterday trucks were plying with illegal coal in the name of coke but there was no initiative to check these illegalities from the DMR (Directorate of Mineral Resources), which is again a great embarrassment to the government,” he said, adding that yesterday more than 2,400 tonnes of fresh coal was exported through NH-62.
Rahman said that they will try to meet the government again in the next few days on this matter and failure to get any concrete assurances against these illegalities will force the association to move court.
“A huge amount is extorted from the coal loading trucks in Meghalaya by the strong and illegal syndicate systems that are rampant both at the private and official levels, ranging from Rs 2,000 to up to 10,000 per truck per trip, with a total adding up to more than Rs 1 lakh.
The alleged extortion has hurt “free and honest” business, particularly that of coal merchants and the entire coal transport system.
Documents, like challans, that the trucks must have are being openly sold by a small cabal to the tune of Rs 80,000 each, he also claimed.
“Truck owners are being forced to buy the P-Forms/challan from the musclemen and whoever disagrees are beaten up or cannot pass through NH-62,” Rahman said.
The modus operandi of trucks transporting illegal coal, on the other hand, is to load up the truck with coal and cover it with a few bags of coke. Up to 60 trucks per day are involved in this, carrying illegal coal from Shalang, Aatiabari and Riando to Assam “but no action is taken against these illegalities,” the association’s President said.
“On January 16 and 17 more than 400 trucks were plying without challans and yesterday trucks were plying with illegal coal in the name of coke.”