SHILLONG, May 14 � Meghalaya Government has finally banned rat-hole coal mining and transportation of coal throughout the State today in compliance of the order of the National Green Tribunal.
Informing about the ban, Meghalaya Director General of Police Peter Hanneman said that all Superintendents of Police and the Deputy Commissioners were given instructions to implement the order of the NGT in �letter and spirit.�
He said that actual effect of the ban would be visible in a day or two, when pointed out that a large number of coal-laden trucks were still plying on the National Highways. The DGP said that anyone violating the ban would be booked under section 144 CrPc and 188 IPC. The NGT has passed its order on April 17 to ban rat-hole coal mining and transportation of coal.
All the coal mines in the State are operated in an unscientific manner that leads to widespread environmental degradation. Moreover, the miners don�t acquire a lease from the Government and so the NGT considers such activity illegal.
The NGT has directed the DGP to submit a compliance report on the steps taken to implement the order in the State during the next hearing of the Tribunal in Delhi on June 2.
Meanwhile, the Jaintia Hills Coal Miners� and Dealers� Association has called a 12-hour strike of business establishment and vehicular traffic in the Jaintia Hills on May 17 from 5 am to 5 pm in protest against the petition filed by the Assam-based All Dimasa Student�s Union and Dima Hasao District Committee, which eventually led to the ban on rat-hole coal mining.
The State police said that it is geared up to face any eventuality in the face of agitation following the ban on rat-hole coal mining. �The State police have no other option but to implement the order of the NGT,� the DGP said.
Hanneman today admitted that �some policemen� were involved in coal mining activities in the State, so too politicians, but said that there was no pressure on the police in discharging their duties.
�There are some policemen involved in coal mining activities in the State, but their numbers are miniscule. We are under no pressure to implement the ban as we are only implementing a legitimate order,� he added.
According to reports some senior policemen are involved in coal mining, especially in the Garo Hills region. On the other hand, several sitting and former legislators, Ministers and members from the district council are also involved in the coal trade.