Meeting with coal miners held on e-auction process of extracted coal

Pic: File Photo

Shillong, July 18: Commissioner & Secretary in charge Mining & Geology department Tining Dkhar said that the process of auctioning the assessed coal lying in the different parts of East Jaiñtia Hills District will take not less than four months.

Dkhar on Thursday convened a meeting with the deputy commissioner of East Jaiñtia Hills, FM Doph and coal miners from the district to discuss on the e-auction process of coal, which was as per direction by the recent judgment passed by the Supreme Court on July 3.

The Apex court while lifting the ban on coal mining imposed by the National Green Tribunal for the past five years had directed the state government to hand over all extracted coal as assessed by the state to the Coal India Ltd for proper disposal.

“The DC has been asked to conduct an awareness programme about the e-auction process,” he told reporters while informing that the identification of the coal stock which is lying in different places will be done by a team from the mining and geology department.

“Once this is done, unique number to each stock will be issued and this will be followed by testing of the quality of coal as there will be different prices based on the quality of the coal. The Coal India Ltd will then issue notice for auctioning of the same,” Dkhar said.

As per the list submitted by the district administration, there are over 400 coal stock owners, and the quantity of coal assessed was around 17 lakh metric tons in East Jaiñtia Hills. There are 32 lakh metric tons of coal in the entire state.

The Commissioner & Secretary said of the bidding price, royalty due to the state government will be accordingly deducted besides the Meghalaya Environment Protection and Restoration Fund (MEPRF) and 10 per cent for Coal India Ltd. “The balance amount will go to the coal miners,” he added.

Dkhar said the process of auctioning the extracted coal assessed by the government will take around three-four months to complete.

“The miners and the stock owners should understand that this coal does not belongs to the state government it is their property but we will only help them to auction because as per court order you cannot just transport the coal like that but it has to be auctioned,” he said.

Dkhar further informed that the state government would also soon convene similar meetings with the deputy commissioners of the other districts like West Khasi Hills, South West Khasi Hills and South Garo Hills once the monsoon are over.

Admitting that there were some concerns expressed by the coal miners on the judgment, he however said he had asked them to submit their representation for examination by the state government.

Whether the government would seek a review of the Supreme Court judgment, Dkhar said, “I cannot comment right now until and unless we have obtained the opinion from the Advocate General.”

With coal mining being allowed to resume in Meghalaya as per Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act, the government has engaged the Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI) and Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited (MECL) to help the miners to prepare the mining plan.

“The CMPDI will conduct extensive investigation, exploration once the monsoon is over,” he said.