NEW DELHI, APRIL 14: Based on the recommendations of a committee it constituted, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has approved a proposal to release Rs 96.59 lakh from the Meghalaya Environment Protection and Restoration Fund (MEPR) for the purchase of 6 vehicles mounted with water tanks.
Directing the state Chief Secretary to “forthwith take remedial measures,” the Tribunal also directed the Committee to consider requiring a “foolproof mechanism for effective action against transportation of illegally mined coal such as electronic manifest system for regulating movement of vehicles and issuance of challans.”
“The Committee may also consider requiring audit of the sources of coal acquired by the power generation and cement plants in the State,” the bench comprising of NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said.
The directions came when the green panel was hearing a series of pleas pertaining to “rat-hole” mining of coal in the State. The petitioners had sought remedial action against such “unscientific mining”.
The committee in its report dated March 2019 noted that despite previous orders of the Supreme Court and the NGT that prohibited transportation of coal, it has continued.
The Bench observed, “We have noted from the report that 4 persons died March 11 in East Jaintia Hills District and the State was directed to take remedial action. It was also noted that no digital display boards have been installed, displaying the quality of water in respective areas for information of the general public.”
Referring to a January 2019 report of the Committee, the Bench observed, “Illegal mining was continuing without adopting safety measures. A tragic incident dated December 13, 2018 was widely published wherein 15 workers were trapped and are reported to have died. The power plants and cement plants were encouraging coal mining activities.”
Earlier, the Tribunal had directed the State Government to deposit a sum of ?100 crore as an interim measure for restoration of the environment. (Courtesy: The Hindu)