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High-level probe into illegal mining & exporting of coal to Bangladesh via Meghalaya

It may be mentioned that the High Court had on May 26 stopped all export of coal with e-way bills issued by Guwahati-based Jai Maa Coal Pvt Ltd through the Gasuapara land custom station

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Shillong: The Coal Controller Organisation under the Union Coal Ministry has constituted a high-level committee to probe into the illegal mining and exporting of coal to Bangladesh via Meghalaya. 

The Coal Controller had informed the Meghalaya High Court on Tuesday during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Champer M. Sangma in the division bench of the Meghalaya High Court. 

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“It is submitted on behalf of the Coal Controller that a high-level committee has been constituted to look into the serious allegations made by the petitioner that illegally mined coal in Meghalaya has been shown to be coal that originated in Assam by forging and fabricating documents and seeking to export such coal to a neighbouring country,” the court said. 

In his PIL, Sangma stated that documents issued by Guwahati-based Jai Maa Coal Pvt Ltd may have been manufactured by officials of the Meghalaya government for transportation of coal allegedly brought from Assam and originally meant for export to Bangladesh.

The High Court also decided to hear a writ petition filed by Gasuapara resident Maikel T. Sangma on October 19 since the issues raised in the case were similar to the PIL filed by Champer M. Sangma.

It may be mentioned that the High Court had on May 26 stopped all export of coal with e-way bills issued by Guwahati-based Jai Maa Coal Pvt Ltd through the Gasuapara land custom station, South Garo Hills until the details are explained regarding the origin of coal.

Jai Maa Coal Pvt Ltd is owned by Balwan Bhama, a powerful coal trader from Guwahati.

The Court had sought a preliminary report from the State government as to how the coal that was said to be dumped at Gasuapara came into Meghalaya.  The court also sought proof of the entry of the coal into the State and the origin of the coal.

Sangma had also petitioned the state Chief Secretary regarding the various illegalities committed by Jai Maa Coal Pvt Ltd.  Since the Chief Secretary did not act on his complaint, Sangma moved the High Court seeking its intervention on the matter.

Moreover, Sangma had stated that the Deputy Commissioner of South Garo Hills by order dated April 29, 2022 has permitted Jai Maa Coal Pvt Ltd to transport an unspecified amount of coal which is stated to be dumped at Gasuapara.

Further, the Deputy Commissioner of South Garo Hills had written a letter to Directorate of Mineral Resources on April 29, 2022 to make an assessment of the dumped coal, apart from the other seized coal

The court has fixed the next hearing on the matter on October 19. 

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