Silchar Jan 30: Following the directions of Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, Minister of Mines and Minerals, Revenue and Disaster Management Jogen Mohan along with Minister of Power, Tourism, Sports and Youth Welfare, Bimal Bora interacted with the elected public representatives of Barak Valley along with the stakeholders of industries wherein coal and other minerals are extensively used and representatives of various political parties.
On Saturday, the Ministers interacted with the elected representatives of Cachar district and noted down the views and responses of the elected public representatives, people from different political parties and officials from the various industries including the brick and tea industry in particular at the conference hall of the Cachar Deputy Commissioner. Silchar MP Dr Rajdeep Roy, Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli were also present in the meeting.
Later, while talking to the media, Minister Bimal Bora said, "we have heard the views and concerns of the people from various political parties and also noted down the suggestions placed in the meeting by the people from various industries. The Government headed by Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma is well and truly concerned about the problems faced by them regarding the availability of coal. The economy of the valley is heavily dependent on the industries here, especially tea, brick, cement and also the cultivators of betel nuts in Barak Valley. The Chief Minister was urged upon by the elected representatives regarding the hurdles faced by the industries here and as such, we were asked by the Chief Minister to interact with the people including the elected representatives, members from different political parties and various industries. There was a consensus that the Government must come out with a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that regulates the proper supply of coal and removes the hurdles of illegal transportation of coal. There are over 100 brickfields, around 58 tea gardens in Cachar district. We will convey the responses in the form of a report to the Chief Minister and hope that the SOP which will be industry-friendly, magnifying the revenue system maintaining the social cohesion will be issued soon after."
Meanwhile, Lakhipur MLA Kaushik Rai said that everyone in the meeting agreed that the industries here must not suffer and steps must be initiated so that coal transportation should be well within the laws.
Dulal Mitra, district general secretary of CPM who was present in the meeting shared his views saying, "we communicated to the ministers that whatever measures and rules would be framed must secure the interest of the industries here."
Bhaskar Prasad Chaliha, secretary Surma Valley Branch of Indian Tea Association said "Coal is an input for the tea industry. Neither do we produce nor transport coal. We are not aware of the dexterity involved in the transportation of coal as well. We have suggested that under the Coal policy, the Assam Small Industries Development Corporation Limited (ASIDCL) which is the nominated agency for the non-linked sectors including the tea industry should take up the responsibility for the distribution of coal by opening an outlet in Barak Valley. The Ministers assured that they have noted down our demand."