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Illegal coal depots causing health hazards, revenue loss

By CORRESPONDENT

JORABAT, Dec 29 - With a rise in the lucrative coal business in the State, there has been a significant increase in the number of illegal coal depots as the law-enforcing agencies have failed to put a check on them.

According to sources, a handful of people involved in this unlawful business � starting from unlawful stocking of coal to ferrying it outside the State � are operating a large number of coal depots on the city outskirts, especially along the Jorabat-Byrnihat stretch on the Assam side.

Sources said that coal illegally transported from Meghalaya, is dumped in depots at Byrnihat and subsequently taken to West Bengal and Bihar via Guwahati. This leads to a huge loss to the state exchequer.

According to the local residents, what is more worrisome is that the coal dust rising from these depots has been causing high levels of pollution in the area.

The residents are apprehensive of serious health hazards like asthma, bronchitis and possibly cancer due to the increase in coal dust from the depots that operate 24x7.

Interestingly, several depots are located in the residential areas of the villages as it is easy for the coal mafia to prevent the villagers from complaining against the problems arising from the depots. The heavily loaded trucks usually damage the narrow village roads and make them non-commutable for villagers and light vehicles during the rainy season.

Questioning the role of the law-enforcing agencies, especially the police stationed at Jorabat and Sonapur, a local, pleading anonymity said, �We are suffering because they have no arrangement to control air pollution and are also operating without any authorisation for non-agricultural use of land. We are confused why the police and other agencies concerned are not acting against them.�

However, it is evident that the coal depots are operating without the fear of law, as several such depots have also come up along National Highway 6 on the Assam side and are operating day and night right under the nose of the law-enforcing agencies.

Meanwhile, when asked about any list maintained by the police regarding the number of valid coal depots in the area, Sonapur Assistant Commissioner of Police Abotani Doley said he had no knowledge regarding the same.

If sources are to be believed, a good amount of money is collected from the illegal depots for managing the officials to allow them to operate in a hassle-free manner.

Requesting inspection of the coal depots, the local people have demanded stringent action against the mafia who are causing losses to the exchequer and polluting the environment for the sake of their personal gain.

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Illegal coal depots causing health hazards, revenue loss

JORABAT, Dec 29 - With a rise in the lucrative coal business in the State, there has been a significant increase in the number of illegal coal depots as the law-enforcing agencies have failed to put a check on them.

According to sources, a handful of people involved in this unlawful business � starting from unlawful stocking of coal to ferrying it outside the State � are operating a large number of coal depots on the city outskirts, especially along the Jorabat-Byrnihat stretch on the Assam side.

Sources said that coal illegally transported from Meghalaya, is dumped in depots at Byrnihat and subsequently taken to West Bengal and Bihar via Guwahati. This leads to a huge loss to the state exchequer.

According to the local residents, what is more worrisome is that the coal dust rising from these depots has been causing high levels of pollution in the area.

The residents are apprehensive of serious health hazards like asthma, bronchitis and possibly cancer due to the increase in coal dust from the depots that operate 24x7.

Interestingly, several depots are located in the residential areas of the villages as it is easy for the coal mafia to prevent the villagers from complaining against the problems arising from the depots. The heavily loaded trucks usually damage the narrow village roads and make them non-commutable for villagers and light vehicles during the rainy season.

Questioning the role of the law-enforcing agencies, especially the police stationed at Jorabat and Sonapur, a local, pleading anonymity said, �We are suffering because they have no arrangement to control air pollution and are also operating without any authorisation for non-agricultural use of land. We are confused why the police and other agencies concerned are not acting against them.�

However, it is evident that the coal depots are operating without the fear of law, as several such depots have also come up along National Highway 6 on the Assam side and are operating day and night right under the nose of the law-enforcing agencies.

Meanwhile, when asked about any list maintained by the police regarding the number of valid coal depots in the area, Sonapur Assistant Commissioner of Police Abotani Doley said he had no knowledge regarding the same.

If sources are to be believed, a good amount of money is collected from the illegal depots for managing the officials to allow them to operate in a hassle-free manner.

Requesting inspection of the coal depots, the local people have demanded stringent action against the mafia who are causing losses to the exchequer and polluting the environment for the sake of their personal gain.

More in Entertainment
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