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Meghalaya High Court seeks origin of coal passing through state

First Published: 20th July, 2022 16:07 IST

The Court has now sought a preliminary report from the state indicating, with proof, how the coal entered the state as well as the origin of the mineral.

In what is sure to set the cat amongst the pigeons, the Meghalaya High Court, through an order in the case of export of coal through the Gasuapara port in South Garo Hills, has sought answers from the state about the origin of the coal.

A PIL had earlier been filed by a local exporter from Gasuapara, Champer M Sangma in the High Court questioning the validity of the e-way bills while also questioning the origin of the coal in Gasuapara.

A stop on the use of e-way bills for export was also adopted with immediate effect by the High Court.

In its order on the same PIL, the Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court, Sanjib Banerjee, and judge, W Diengdoh, expressed their concerns over the issue.

The Court observed, “This is a matter of some concern that has been brought to the notice of this Court by way of the present public interest litigation. According to the petitioner, documents may have been manufactured, inter alia, by the State, for transportation of coal allegedly brought from Assam and originally meant for export to Bangladesh”.

The Court has now sought a preliminary report from the state indicating, with proof, how the coal entered the state as well as the origin of the mineral. The matter is set for hearing 9 days from today, that is on July 29.

The state of Meghalaya had earlier, late last year as well as in the month of March – April this year, allowed the movement of coal into Bangladesh through the Gasuapara port in South Garo Hills to one Jai Maa Enterprise, a company apparently belonging to one Balwan Bhama.

The coal, as per the company, was being brought from Dudhnoi in Assam before moving through Dainadubi in North Garo Hills and then dumped at Gasuapara port.

Bhama’s firm had been allowed to use e-way bills to export coal into Bangladesh and was the only firm allowed to carry out this form of coal transport.

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