Shillong (Meghalaya ), Oct 30 : Based on RTI details, a resident from East Garo Hills has lodged a formal complaint to the State Chief Secretary regarding illegal stock of coal at Khliehrangnah area of Shangpung in West Jaiñtia Hills.
Sengbreezbirth N. Marak in his complaint to the Chief Secretary with copy to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) said that in the past few months, there have been auction of alleged unclaimed coal by Deputy Commissioners (DCs) of different districts where the actual quantity of the unclaimed coal at the site is far less than the quantity being shown in the official correspondence and then in the public auction notice.
“This strategy is being adopted by many DCs as can be observed in respect of all such public auctions of coal being illegally mined under the cover of the challan of the auction coal.
Moreover , in the process, along with the transportation of the auctioned coal and under the banner of auctioned coal, illegally mined coal are further being transported at the cost of the State,” the complaint said.
The complaniant also referred to a letter filed before the Deputy Commissioner, West Jaiñtia Hills by one Damehi Lamare alleging that there is an illegal stock of coal at Khliehrangnah area.
According to Marak, an enquiry was ordered by the Deputy Commissioner, West Jaiñtia Hills and the probe report was submitted by the Divisional Mining Officer and subsequently an FIR was lodged on June 23 this year by the Divisional Mining Officer as per the order of the Deputy Commissioner.
“The assessed quantity of the unclaimed coal was shown as 1,41,000 metric tonnes. On my collection of the inputs from the sites of the alleged unclaimed/illegal stock of coal indicated by the few coordinates, the quantity of coal is hardly 15 per cent to 20 per cent of the indicated quantity in the official report of Divisional Mining Officer submitted to the Deputy Commissioner, West Jaiñtia Hills,” Marak said.
SN Marak has urged the Chief Secretary to take necessary action as per law to put a stop to illegally mined coal under the cover of the challan of auction coal.
Meanwhile, the Journalist forum of Assam expressed serious concern over a viral exposure of a payment-list narrating amounts paid to some media houses and individual scribes in social media and urged the State media fraternity to stand against the effort to malign its image. However, the forum appealed to all concerned media persons to clarify their stand effectively.
Mentionable is that, an unauthenticated sheet of paper ( in possession of South Asia Views ) where it is written as ‘confidential’ describes a list of monthly beneficiaries including some media houses from an association of truckers. Claimed as prepared on 21 October 2020, the list mentions a number of news channels and newspapers along with a press association based in Guwahati.
It describes the total media expenditure as much as Rs 39,70,000 per month along with lavvy to Cachar police (Assam) and Meghalaya police personnel. The expenditure to carry ‘coil’ (coal?) involving payments to media groups may trigger repercussions among the common people even though the particular paper is not authenticated.
“The paper is made viral in social media including influential whatsapp groups which would multiply the number of viewers in every single minute even without getting the space in mainstream media,”said a statement issued by JFA president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria adding that the mainstream media should (must) react to the development collectively.