Meghalaya has failed to follow the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal orders to check illegal coal mining in the state, PTI reported on Tuesday, citing a report submitted in the state High Court.
The report dated May 23 was submitted by a committee headed by Justice BP Katakey to the Meghalaya High Court. The panel was formed by the court to recommend measures to the state government to comply with the Supreme Court’s and the NGT’s directions.
Except for notifying the Meghalaya Minerals (Prevention of Illegal Mining, Transportation and Storage) Rules, 2022 on March 24, none of the directions issued by the Supreme Court or the NGT have been followed, Katakey said.
The Meghalaya High Court said it is a matter of regret that orders are violated or not implemented by the state government. It asked the authorities to implement Katakey’s recommendations within four weeks.
“It is made clear that the time for implementation of the outstanding directions will not be counted from today or from the date of institution of the present suo motu proceedings, but from the relevant dates when such directions were issued,” the court said, according to PTI.
The court gave the order after hearing a public interest litigation on rampant rat-hole mining in the interior and other areas of Khliehriat in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district.
Rat-hole mining has been banned in Meghalaya since 2014. It is considered to be an unscientific and dangerous technique in which workers enter deep tunnels around three or four feet high to extract coal.
The court also said that Katakey will monitor the implementation of the recommendations made in his report, along with the outstanding orders and directions of the Supreme Court and the NGT.
“For such purpose, Justice Katakey will make periodic visits to Shillong, which will be facilitated by the state government,” the court said. “A secretary-level member in the state’s civil service should be attached to Justice Katakey to facilitate the monitoring work.”