Tura(Meghalaya), Feb 18: Acting on a tip off, police in West Garo Hills were able seized four pickup trucks carrying coal, hidden under packets of betel nut near the Dobasipara area.
As per information from police, a naka checking was set up at the Dobasipara Beat House credible information was received on the illegal transport of coal, in violation of the order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The coal was apparently on its way from 12th Mile on National Highway 51 and is suspected to be from Chokpot area of South Garo Hills district.
“We set up a surprise check point to apprehend the coal after receiving information. The naka was placed for the entire night and was led by the CI (Sadar) of Tura police station,” informed the Superintendent of Police (SP), West Garo Hills district, Dr MGR Kumar.
On the morning of February 12, police detected four Mahindra pickup trucks which were transporting coal that had been stored in jute sacks.
“The trucks along with the illegal coal were accordingly seized and in this connection the drivers of the trucks, along with the owners of the coal were arrested,” confirmed the SP.
An FIR has been registered into the incident with cognizable sections under IPC and MMDR Act being added. Further investigation into the incident is also on.
Meanwhile, police today apprehended a truck transporting coal from the Rongrenggre reserve forest, just over a week after coal pits in this reserve were sealed.
The Rongrenggre reserve forest has been one of the worst affected state reserves within the state with timber felling and coal mining taking place simultaneously, despite attempts by the forest department to crack down on the acts.
Last estimates of the loss caused by illegal mining and timber felling has indicated over 50 per cent of high value trees being cleared and hundreds of pits dug near the river for the extraction of coal. These pits were shut down just a few days ago.
The reserve is one of the easiest places to mine coal as the coal seam is just by the side of the river and can be reached by making holes into the ground.
Social activist, Nilbath Ch Marak who informed about the detection of the coal laden truck feels the lessons have not been learnt.
The activist stated that he was on his way to Tura today when he saw the truck turned towards Williamnagar.
“You could see coal coming out of the bags inside which raised our suspicion. Immediately after we informed police authorities who came down and found the truck full of coal that was mined from the reserve. We have also heard that coal dumps are already ready for transport but we have not been able to verify the information yet,” said Nilbath.
“We wanted to be absolutely sure as we do not want to harass anyone. When we checked the truck, we found coal being carried in violation of court orders. What is more, the coal has been dug up from within the reserve forest,” said the activist.
Police from East Garo Hills district later apprehended the truck and an investigation is on. An FIR is expected to be filed later by the social activist.
East Garo Hills Superintendent of Police Abraham T Sangma said, “The truck was found near Chiading police station and has been apprehended. An FIR has been registered and we are investigating.”
Nilbath further questioned the intention of the authorities meant to check for such illegal acts.
“If the world can see that these trucks are carrying coal how can the forest gate at Samanda not do so? This does not make sense. All trucks have to pass through the gate, so the question of detection is superfluous. Something is definitely not right,” said Nilbath.
By special arrangement with Highland Post