Shillong, March 14: The Meghalaya High Court ordered the state government to deploy 10 Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) companies to crack down on illegal coal mining and transportation.
The high court pulled up the Meghalaya government’s proposal for the deployment of 160 companies of central armed police forces to check illegal mining and transportation of coal.
The HC termed the Meghalaya government’s proposal as “grandiose” as the deployment plan would cost the state over Rs 300 crore.
Hearing a PIL, a bench headed by Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee said, “Considering the total area in the state… 10 companies of CISF should be enough to check vehicles and completely arrest the illegal transportation of coal.”
The high court bench directed that instead of the CRPF which functions under the control of the state police, the CISF which functions independently would be fit to do the job which also includes checking goods vehicles.
“While CISF is engaged in checking vehicles, there is no doubt that it would also check for contraband and ensure that the goods vehicles conform to the weight limits for plying on the state and national highways in Meghalaya,” the order stated.
Former judge Justice (Retd) B P Katakey, who heads a committee to look into the unlawful mining activities in the state filed the 11th interim report.
Based on the report, the court further directed the deployment of 10 companies in consultation with Justice Katakey on the key areas which needed to be manned.
Stating that the deployment of CISF would be on a payment basis, the court said the amount is left to the state and the Centre to negotiate.
The court also directed Dr. Mozika, the deputy solicitor general of India, to ascertain the logistics and formalities for 10 companies of CISF to be deployed for the purpose of checking the illegal transportation of coal in the state.
Stating that the deployment would be until the time the Meghalaya government opens up scientific mining, the court said that granting lawful mining licenses would make illegal coal mining unattractive.
The next hearing has been fixed on March 20.