Guwahati, July 3, 2019
The Supreme Court on July 3, 2019, directed the Meghalaya Government to deposit the fine amount of Rs 100 crore which was imposed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for it failed to curb illegal coal mining in the state with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
A bench comprising of justices Ashok Bhushan and K.M.Joseph directed the state administration to hand over the illegally extracted coal to Coal India Limited (CIL) which will auction it and deposit all the funds with the Meghalaya government.
In its judgement, the apex court also allowed the mining operation to continue in the state privately and community-owned land subject after seeking permissions from the concerned authorities. The ban on coal mining by NGT was also lifted.
It may be mentioned, the NGT had imposed a fine on the Meghalaya government on January 4th, 2019.
During the hearing, a committee constituted by the NGT in the year 2018 submitted a report where it was made clear that a total of 24,000 mines were operating illegally in the state of Meghalaya.
It had also said that not only were there no licences or leases, but also no environmental clearance for operation of the majority of the coal mines.