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Meghalaya HC seeks report on exact quantum of coal to be disposed of

“Once an accurate figure is available, it would allay fears of freshly mined coal being passed off as coal mined prior to the stoppage directions issued by or about 2017,” the order noted.

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Shillong: A full bench of Meghalaya High Court on Thursday asked retired Judge B P Katakey to indicate the exact quantum of already extracted coal to be disposed of in the state

Katakey was appointed by the High Court to ascertain whether the state government has complied with the directives of the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal for cracking down on illegal coal mining. The former judge of Gauhati High Court has also been asked to come up with the set of proper recommendations, including on the sale of already extracted coal.

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In its order, the full bench comprising of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee, judges Hamarsan Singh Thangkhiew and Wanlura Diengdoh, said, “expeditious steps are also to be taken to dispose of the coal which remains since there are allegations from several quarters that coal continues to be illegally mined in the State and the recently mined coal sought to be passed off as the previously mined coal.”

“In the meantime, Katakey should indicate the exact quantum of coal which remains to be disposed of and the State will render all assistance to ensure that an accurate figure is indicated,” the bench said while hearing a PIL on this regard.

“Once an accurate figure is available, it would allay fears of freshly mined coal being passed off as coal mined prior to the stoppage directions issued by or about 2017,” the order noted.

The court said a third interim report was filed by Katakey on August 9 and it will be open to the appearing parties to obtain copies of the report from an officer of the court.

“The suggestions and recommendations made in the third interim report are likely to be directed be implemented, subject to the views expressed by the appearing parties”, the court said and directed the state government to pay further ad hoc remuneration of Rs 1.5 lakh to Katakey.

The court has listed the next hearing on the matter on August 25.

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