Trouble not over for govt on coal mining issue

Shillong, May 25: With the order of the High Court of Meghalaya entrusting the continued  monitoring of coal mining to retired Justice BP Katakey, trouble is far from over for the state government.

According to the order of the court issued on Tuesday, Katakey will continue to monitor the implementation of the recommendations, including the pending orders and the directions of the Supreme Court and the NGT. For such purpose, Justice Katakey will make periodic visits to Shillong, which will be facilitated by the state government. A secretary-level member in the state’s civil service should be attached to Justice Katakey to facilitate the monitoring work”, the court said.


Sources said Katakey had two physical sittings and many queries were raised before the government but satisfactory reply was not given by the government leading to his scathing order.

According to the court, the preliminary findings in the report prepared on May 23 indicated that except for notifying The Meghalaya Minerals (Prevention of illegal Mining, Transportation and Storage) Rules, 2022 as recently as March 24 none of the directions issued by the Supreme Court and the NGT have been complied with by the concerned authorities…” The authorities that have been specifically mentioned include the State of Meghalaya, the State and Central Pollution Control Boards, the North Eastern Space Application Centre and the Integrated
Regional Office of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change”.
In the preliminary findings, the details of the non-compliance have been pointed out. In addition, the report makes recommendations to ensure implementation of the pending directions in point form, so that the appropriate agencies can deal with the various aspects, the court said.

“While it is a matter of regret that orders passed by the Supreme Court and by the NGT continue to be violated and the directions issued are not implemented, it is necessary that the recommendations made inthe preliminary report of May 23, 2022 be immediately taken note of and the relevant matters addressed. It is made clear that the time for implementation of the outstanding directions will not be counted from
today or from the date of institution of the present suo motu proceedings, but from the relevant dates when such directions were issued”, the court said.

As such, all relevant authorities should get their acts in order and ensure the complete implementation of the directions within four weeks from date, the court added.

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