The Meghalaya government has announced a reward of Rs 5,000 to those who can provide specific information on incidences of illegal mining or transportation of illegal coal.
The announcement comes at a time when by partners of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government raised serious allegations and grievances related to the illegal transportation of coal in the state.
A group of ministers met Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma, who is in charge of mining of geology department and alleged that illegal transportation of coal re-surfaced in the state.
Though the scheme of reward was framed for the purpose since September 10, however, there was no proper publicity in this regard.
The mining and geology department has offered a reward of Rs 5000 to those who can provide credible information directly leading to the seizure of coal or vehicles carrying illegal coal.
“The scheme regulates and grants payment of reward to the informants providing specific information on incidences of illegal mining or transportation of coal on the Centralized Helpline Number 1800-345-3846 (Toll Free), or to the nearby Police Station, to the person in-charge of check gate under the DMR or to the divisional mining officer or to any other competent authority,” the order said.
Deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong defended that there were differences within the MDA government because of the allegations of corruption in the two district councils – GHADC and JHADC – as well as allegations related to the illegal transportation of coal.
“Political parties that are part and parcel of the MDA have their right to air grievances or request any authority to look into when there are complaints against corruption or illegalities,” Tynsong told reporters.
He informed that the MDA has a coordination committee which used to discuss together if there are issues concerning the government and the coalition partners.
The chief minister is the chairman of the coordination committee while representatives of different political parties are members of the committee.
He said as partners, the MDA coordination committee should discuss if there are grievances and take corrective steps to address the grievances for the welfare of the state.
When pointed out to the state BJP’s allegations of corruption in the JHADC and GHADC over the utilization of central funds under the Special Assistant Grants (SAG), Tynsong said: “I have no comment on the BJP’s complaint to CBI or any authority.”
“However, since the matter involves the district councils, I spoke to the DCA minister if his department has received some papers related to the allegations, but the DCA minister informed me that nothing of that sort has come from anybody,” he said.
Tynsong also maintained that the MDA government would remain and continue to work together till the end of the term.
On allegations from partners of the MDA that illegal transportation of coal has again resurfaced, Tynsong said this issue used to be discussed in the MDA in the past too.
“In case of illegal activities brought to the notice, we used to discuss among us and our stand is that illegalities must stop. All MDA partners are against illegalities,” the deputy CM said.
When asked about the latest grievances raised by MDA ministers over illegal transportation of coal, Tynsong said the government has asked the deputy commissioners and superintendents of police to check and ensure no illegalities take place.
“We have given the instructions to check if there are such illegalities because ultimately it will affect the state exchequer,” Tynsong said.
However Tynsong said challans were issued for transportation of seized coal, and it cannot be concluded that all trucks were ferrying coal illegally.
“For seized coal, challans were issued for transportation, and we cannot say that all trucks are ferrying illegally because they also have legal papers. But lately, some stated that there are also trucks ferrying coal and moving on the road without any paper.
“That’s why we have given clear instructions to the DCs and SPs as well as concerned departments to be strict and check if the allegations are true or so that illegal transportation of coal or any item does not take place,” Tynsong said.