In a big revelation, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Monday informed the Meghalaya Assembly that as many as 2,000 cases of illegal coal mining and transportation have been registered in the past five years.
Facing constant attack by the opposition Congress on the issue of illegal coal transportation, Sangma pointed out that the state has been facing the situation for a long time now.
Giving a break-up of the 2,000 cases, Sangma informed that while 203 cases were reported in 2014, it went up to 541 cases in 2015. 117 illegal coal mining and transportation cases were reported in 2016, 274 cases in 2017 and as many as 400 cases in 2018.
The Meghalaya Chief Minister also spoke on steps taken to check the illegal operations. Sangma pointed out that the NPP-led government has implemented certain provisions of the MMDR Act under which anyone found guilty can be jailed for up to 5 years along with a fine of Rs 5 lakh.
Sangma also informed that police and mining officials are conducting joint patrolling and a centralized helpline number has been created where complaints can be registered.
Stating that there are laid down protocols to recover illegal usage of coal under Sec 21 para 5 of the MMDR Act, the Chief Minister said, Even if coal is transported and sold there is provision to recover the money if done illegally.
The Chief Minister also spoke of plans to set up smart and integrated check gates at different locations to ensure stricter compliance.
Meanwhile, the opposition Congress has decided to move a no-confidence motion against the Conrad Sangma government for allegedly concealing facts pertaining to various issues in the state.
Talking to newspersons, leader of the opposition and former chief minister Mukul Sangma termed it as a dangerous trend.
It may be mentioned that the opposition Congress have been targeting the State Government over a host of issues including the alleged corruption in the GHADC and Illegal transportation of coal.