Govt serious about checking illegal transportation of charcoal: Meghalaya CM

Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said on Wednesday that the state government is serious about checking and effectively containing illegal transportation of charcoal.

The Meghalaya Charcoal (Control of Production, Storage, Trade, and Transport) Regulations, 2008 were modified in 2019 for this purpose, Sangma said on the floor of the Assembly.

According to the new regulations, producers and stockists of charcoal must submit an application for registration to the relevant divisional forest officer, and they can renew their registration after a year with prior consent of the principal chief conservator of forests.

Sangma was responding to a question raised by UDP MLA Mayralborn Syiem, who cited a media report on the forest department’s inability to stop unlawful shipment of charcoal in the hill state.

As many as 95 metric tonnes of charcoal have been seized in the last five years, according to the Chief Minister, and 23 cases have been filed for its illegitimate production, transportation and storage.

Charcoal is mostly consumed by the ferro alloys industry.

In addition to the 23 instances that were registered in Ri-Bhoi and West Khasi Hills districts over the last five years, a total of Rs 2.60 lakh was realised as compounding fees, according to Sangma.

However, the Chief Minister added that neither reserved woods nor protected forests in the two districts have any evidence of unlawful charcoal manufacturing.

“The forest department will be more alert and vigilant in these matters and continue to inspect the vehicles plying through the check-posts to detect vehicles carrying illegal consignment of charcoal,” Sangma said.


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