SHILLONG, May 22: Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma said that his government legally cannot restrict transportation of coal from Assam.
“The permission to transport coal from Assam to cement plants has been granted in compliance of MHA guidelines and directions to ensure continuity of operation of cement plants,” Sangma said in the state Assembly on Friday.
He said this while replying to a call attention moved by Congress MLA from Mawlai PT Sawkmie with regards to a recent protest staged by NGOs including coal miners in East Jaintia Hills district against transportation of coal from outside the state.
He said that the MHA guidelines strictly say that there should be no restrictions on inter-state movement of goods and cargo.
“We also obtain essential goods from other states. Legally, we cannot restrict transportation of coal from Guwahati.” he stated.
Sangma said the government on May 1, has allowed cement plants to operate at 50 percent capacity subject to strict compliance of protocols and guidelines issued by the MHA and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Three cement plants – Star cement, Meghalaya Cements and Dalmia Cement Ltd – submitted application for seeking permission to transport coal lying at Railway siding Guwahati.
“Therefore, in compliance of MHA guidelines, the state government allowed transportation of coal which is lying at railway siding, Guwahati to respective cement plants in East Jaintia Hills. Initially, only 30 numbers of trucks per day was allowed to ply, later on the restriction was withdrawn,” Sangma said.
On the other hand, Sangma however said the state has prepared plan for transportation and handing over of coal to Coal India Limited (CIL) for e-auction for supply of 2 lakh MT of extracted coal to cement plants in place of coal transportation from Assam.
He said the plan has been approved by the NGT appointed committee on March 12.
He said the NGT committee has approved auction of 2 lakh MT extracted coal on pilot basis, out of which 75,000 MT for East Jaintia Hills district.