The East Jaintia National Council (EJNC) has demanded a magisterial enquiry to ascertain the source of coal used by the coke factories operating in East Jaintia Hills district.
In a letter to the deputy commissioner on Monday, EJNC said, “We demand that the magisterial enquiry be set up within a period of 14 days to ascertain the source of coal which is being used in the coke factories in East Jaintia Hills District. We will not hesitate to undertake democratic forms of agitation if our demand is not met.”
The organization also demanded that appropriate actions, penalty and closure should be taken against any coke factories if they are found using coal, which is illegally mined in the district.
It said with the absence of legal coal mining in the district, there is a strong possibility that all the coke factories derive their raw material i.e coal from illegal mining that is prevailing in East Jaintia Hills.
“The source of coal being illegal, then even the coke that is being produced through illegal coal, is also illegal and all income derived from such illegal activities amount to proceeds from crime and as such is equivalent to black money. This is evident from the fact that the coke factories in East Jaintia Hills District do not purchase coal from outside the state nor through any legal channels and as such by all circumstances the coke factories derive their from illegal coal mining in East Jaintia Hills District,” the letter stated.
If the coke factories in East Jaintia Hills District do not derive their coal from illegal coal mining then the question is from where they get their coal for producing coke. It is notable that coke is being transported freely and as legal products without any hesitation to different parts of the state and also outside the state.
“However if the coke factories derive their coal from East Jaintia Hills District then the coke and all proceeds also are illegal and is a loss to the state exchequer.
If coal from East Jaintia Hills District is used in the different coke factories, then the state exchequer is also at loss due to nonpayment of taxes and challans,” it said
Meanwhile, the EJNC also questioned as to how the state government is giving permission and No Objection Certificate to many of these coke factories to operate in spite of the fact that there is no legal coal mining in the state and without any concern to the protection and promotion of the environment.