Coal miners and NGOs in the state have threatened to defy the national lockdown and resort to calling of strikes if the state government fails to stop allowing transportation of coal from Assam and other states to cement plants in East Jaintia Hills District.
A letter of protest against the government’s decision was submitted to the Director General of Police (DGP) R.Chandranathan here on Monday.
“As Assam is being classified as COVID-19 hotspot within the North Eastern Region, we strongly opposed the Transportation/Import of Coal from Assam to Meghalaya (East jaintia hills District). Therefore, we request the government to stop the permission granted for transportation of coal from Assam and other states,” the letter said.
It stated that allowing of transportation of coal from Assam and other neighbouring states to cement plants in East Jaintia Hills District, will put life and health of the people of the district in particular and state in general in great danger due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The coal associations and NGOs further expressed strong opposition against several orders issued by the government on this regard, which according to them “allow all the cement plants across the state to ply to ply their trucks into, within and outside the State without any gap on the number of trucks they can ply daily. They will not also require any specific permission from the , Deputy Commissioner of East Jaintia Hills district for plying their Vehicles.”
“(In view of this), we have declded that lf the Government failed to stop the permission granted for transportation of Coal from Assam and other States we would defy the Lockdown and – publicly resort to public meetings/ strikes etc,” the letter warned.
Meanwhile, the coal associations and NGOs also demanded the state government to auction the remaining 32 lakh tons of coal in state as per order of the Supreme Court rather than bringing Coal from outside the State, as the same can be sold to the cement plants from the district itself for which the cement plants have agreed if approved by the Government.
Moreover, they reminded that over 2 lakh metric tons of coal have been approved by the NGT Committee.
The associations who signed the letter include Jaintia Coal Miner Dealer Association, East Jaintia Coal Supplier Association, Jaintia Amalgamated Redressal Forum, Meghalaya People Labour Union Jaintia HIils District Committee, Jaintia Students Movement, East Jaintia National Council, Hynniewtrep National Youth Front East Jaintia Zone, Khasi Students Union East Jalntia Hills District and the Synjuk Waheh Shnong East Jaintia Hills District.