Guwahati: The Assam government on Thursday said it will prepare guidelines for trade and transportation of coal and areca nuts in the state.

Replying to opposition members during Zero Hour in the assembly, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for an effective regulation and revenue generation from the trade of the two items will be prepared very soon.

Speaking on the smuggling of areca nuts, he said that there is a problem in distinguishing between local supari’ (areca nuts) and illegally transported Burmese supari’ from Myanmar.

“Who will distinguish between the two? When trucks carrying supari’ move from one place to another, the opposition and the media say that there is a syndicate,” he added.

The chief minister said that the deputy commissioners of Cachar, Karimganj, and Hailakandi districts have been asked to discuss with stakeholders, such as local MLAs, and prepare an SOP, for transportation of areca nuts.

He informed the House that the proposed SOP will be ready by around January 10 next year.

The chief minister accepted the members’ complaints that tea gardens, cement manufacturers, brick kilns, and other sectors are facing a shortage of coal across the state.

Sarma said the onus of authorising the transportation of coal-laden trucks is on the states of origin and destination, and not on Assam.

Other states object when we interfere with the transportation of coal passing through Assam en route to the destination state, he added.

The chief minister said that the state government has sought legal opinion to determine whether it has policing rights to check coal-laden trucks passing from one state to another via Assam.

Sarma informed the legislators that an SOP will be framed on the issue soon.

He announced that an all-party meeting will be held in January next to discuss streamlining mining, and transportation, and trade of coal and areca nuts across the state.

NRL partners with Assam institute for industry-academia collaboration

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