SC asks Meghalaya to deposit Rs 100 cr fine

Illegal coal mining

A bench 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 the funds with the state government. (PTI File Photo)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the government of Meghalaya to deposit a fine of Rs 100 crore, imposed on it by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for failing to curb illegal coal mining in the state, with the Central Pollution Control Board.

A bench of justices Ashok Bhushan and K M Joseph directed the state administration to give the illegally-extracted coal to Coal India Limited, which will auction it and deposit the funds with the state government.

The bench also allowed mining operations to continue on private and community-owned lands in the state, subjected to the permissions from the authorities concerned.

During the hearing, the state government admitted that a large number of mines were illegally operating in the state.

The NGT fined the Meghalaya government on January 4.

On December 13 last year, 15 miners were trapped inside an illegal coal mine in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills district, when water from the Lytein river gushed into it. None of the miners survived and only two bodies could be recovered.

Earlier, the court had refused to allow miners to transport coal lying at various sites in the state.

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