Court-appointed panel refutes Meghalaya Government’s coal estimate

Extracted coal cannot be more than 19 lakh metric tonnes, retired judge heading the committee said

January 21, 2023 06:14 pm | Updated 06:14 pm IST - GUWAHATI

Photo used for representation purpose only.

Photo used for representation purpose only. | Photo Credit: The Hindu


A court-appointed committee has refuted the Meghalaya Government’s estimate of coal extracted before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned the hazardous rat-hole mining in April 2014.

The High Court of Meghalaya had appointed Justice B.P. Katakey, a retired judge of the Gauhati High Court, a year ago to ascertain whether the State government cracked down on illegal coal mining as directed by the Supreme Court and the NGT.

The Meghalaya Government had claimed 32 lakh MT of coal had already been extracted when the NGT ban had kicked in.

“According to my findings, the coal stock is 19 lakh MT at most and not 32 lakh MT as the State government had told the Supreme Court. Of the total stock, three lakh MT has already been transported,” Justice Katakey told journalists in Meghalaya’s capital Shillong.

He said he had sought a drone survey of the inventoried coal. The first report of such a survey is expected soon.

He said he was tasked with ensuring the auction of the extracted coal and transportation of the reassessed inventoried coal to the depots of Coal India Limited.

Former Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress leader, Mukul M. Sangma, had in October 2020 rubbished the State government’s claim that there are 32 lakh MTs of extracted coal lying across the coal belts in Meghalaya.

Activists in Meghalaya have been criticising the State government for turning a blind eye to illegal mining and transportation of coal despite a ban by the NGT and the Supreme Court. Trucks are often spotted carrying coal but the government has been in denial mode, claiming photos of mining activities or coal-laden trucks are not “proof enough”.

Accidents in coal mines have killed at least 30 people since December 2018 in Meghalaya.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.