Credit: Representational Image

New Delhi: Refusing to grant more time to mine owners to transport the coal that has already been extracted, the Supreme Court on Tuesday announced a complete ban on coal transportation in Meghalaya till February 19, when the matter will be heard again in court.

Noting that illegal coal mining was still rampant in the state despite the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ban, the apex court rapped the Meghalaya government for failing to curb the illegal activity.

The state government was also directed to file a report on the present status including cases registered against illegal mining.

While rejecting all applications moved by various parties for transportation of already extracted coal, the Supreme Court said that there shall be no further transportation of coal and the state should ensure that illegal mining is stopped completely.

The court even doubted the involvement of some government officials in illegal mining. The court has said that if transportation is allowed, illegal mining will continue and more tragedies will happen.

While hearing a plea by the State Coordination Committee of Coal Owners and Mine Dealers’ Forum on December 4 last year, the Supreme Court had allowed transportation of extracted coal till January 31 this year.

The date of hearing for final disposal was fixed for January 15. This was after the deadline for coal transportation was extended several times in the past.

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