Meghalaya Government Faces Crisis Over Missing Coal
In a perplexing turn of events, the Meghalaya government finds itself at a loss, unable to trace a staggering 13 lakh metric tonnes of coal that has seemingly vanished from its inventory. The revelation came to light in the 18th interim report submitted to the Meghalaya High Court by Justice (retired) BP Katakey. The report urges the state government to expedite the investigation into this mysterious disappearance.
Urgent Call for Accountability
Justice Katakey, leading the Single Member Committee, expressed concern over the lack of progress in the administrative inquiry into the missing coal. The Committee advised the state government to hasten the investigation process and hold accountable the officials responsible for the unexplained disappearance of the coal from the government’s custody.
Earlier, the Committee, appointed by the Meghalaya High Court to investigate illegal coal mining, had initiated the process of determining how such a substantial amount of coal went missing from the state’s inventory.
Operational Setbacks for Coke Oven and Ferroalloy Plants
In a related matter, the 18th interim report highlights operational challenges for coke oven and ferroalloy plants. These plants reportedly lack essential single window clearances from the state government and necessary consents to establish and operate from the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board. As a result, these plants are not operational.
The Deputy Commissioners of affected districts have been instructed to conduct regular inspections of these plants and submit timely reports. The report emphasizes that the relevant departments must take action against coke oven plants that have received show-cause notices.
Delay in Coal Source Audit for Cement Companies and Power Plants
The report also reveals a delay in the audit of the coal source for cement companies and thermal power plants, which was supposed to follow the Sixth Interim Report submitted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The Coal Audit Committee, formed by the state government, has been advised to expedite the audit process and submit a report on the coal source for cement companies and thermal power plants by mid-December 2023.
The situation puts the Meghalaya government in a challenging position, raising questions about accountability, transparency, and the need for swift action to address the coal crisis. As the investigations unfold, the government faces increasing pressure to provide answers and take necessary measures to rectify the situation.