Meghalaya HC: Don't bow to political pressure to check illegal coal mining
Meghalaya government aims to boost the revenue of the state and had earlier made several relaxations Credit: Representational image

Shillong: The Meghalaya government’s move to allow transport of coal from Assam has not gone down well with the leaders and residents of the state. After the leaders of National People’s Party (NPP) in East Jaintia Hills, the proposed transportation of stranded coal trucks along NH-62 is now being objected by the North Garo Hills (NGH) District Youth Congress.

Sengbath Marak, the general secretary of the Youth Congress, has written to chief minister Conrad K Sangma over the issue.

In the letter, the Youth Congress said: “The honourable High Court in its order dated 06.05.2020 has permitted the transportation of stranded coal trucks which is around 700-800 numbers approx lying along the NH-62 route. It is well known and highly anticipated that the transportation of these trucks will take place very soon in these coming days. In case you aren’t aware of the fact that Dudhnai, Krishnai, Goalpara, Jogigopa, Kavetri, Dhubri & Bongaigaon areas have been designated as Orange & Red zones respectively with rising cases of positive Covid19 patients.”

Fearing the movement of trucks, the District Youth Congress stated that there is no guarantee that the Standard Operating Protocoals as stipulated by the health department will be implemented, due to the fallout on ground zero.

“We have porous unmanned borders in our district and nod to open coal transportation will attract unchecked labourers through these lines which will very much endanger the lives and safety of our people,” said Marak.

NGH District Youth Congress also backed the stand of the NPP leaders in East Jaintia Hills, who have also resigned protesting against the government’s move to allow the transport of coal from Assam amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In the letter, Marak suggested the chief minister offer a small amount of dearness allowance, a gratuity or bonus to the dedicated people on the frontline.

Condemning the government’s decision to open the transportation of coal, the NGH District Youth Congress has urged the government to reconsider its decision.

“We sincerely hope you reconsider your government’s decision to allow coal transportation keeping into consideration the safety of your beloved people first during this pandemic. Our precious people’s lives cannot be risked at this juncture just for the want of a few bucks of revenue. Coal can wait, coronavirus will not,” the letter said.

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