Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday informed that the process of auctioning and transportation of the approved 2 lakh metric tonnes of already extracted coal will start within 10 days.
“We are in the process and hopefully very soon (auctioning will start) within a week or 10 days time,” Sangma told reporters while reacting to the protest staged by coal miners and NGOs in East Jaintia Hills District against the government’s decision to allow import of coal from outside the state.
It may be mentioned here that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) constituted committee had earlier this year approved auctioning and transportation of 2 lakh metric tones of 32 lakh metric tonnes of coal lying in the different coal belt areas of the state.
Clarifying on the delay, the chief minister informed that the Coal India Limited (CIL) had asked for some clarification on certain issues.
“In view of this, I had a discussion with the union coal minister about 10 days back and I had also wrote a letter to him on the matter. After his (minister) intervention, permission was given (to start the process of auctioning). The Government of India authority should be able to float the necessary tender,” he added.
Asked on the protest staged amid national lockdown, Sangma said that he understands the concern of the protesters but “it is really a matter of legality”.
“Though their concerns and emotions are there, the fact that coal is coming from outside but we have our own limitation and legal challenges that we faced. Therefore, at this point in time, we are trying to resolve it,” he said.
The CM also requested all the protesters to understand the current situation and consider giving time to the government to address the issue.
On the violation of lockdown, Sangma however said that the deputy commissioner and superintendent of police have been asked to take necessary action to ensure there is no violation to contain the spread of COVID-19.