Even as a CAG report pointing out irregularities in coal block auctions rocks the country,Assam and Coal India have alleged that unscrupulous elements are illegally mining coal in Arunachal Pradesh and stealing from Coal Indias leasehold areas in Assam.
Some unscrupulous elements steal coal from leasehold areas,mines and depots of Coal India in Assam and carry it to Arunachal where they surreptitiously get it seized and thereafter auctioned to further transport and sell it to different parts of the country, S S Meenakshi Sundaram,Deputy Commissioner of Assams Tinsukia district has said in a report. Coal India has informed that collusion of mining department authorities (of Arunachal Pradesh) through seizure and auction had become a regular phenomenon in Changlang district.
Coal India Chief General Manager A K Bora said three to four rakes of coal illegally extracted and/or stolen from Coal India leasehold areas were being sent to other states by some traders by taking advantage of Arunachal Pradeshs mining rules.
Bora said several FIRs had been lodged with the police regarding the thefts and other illegalities. The irregularities have begun after Arunachal took back Coal Indias leasehold mining areas in Namchik coalfields about a decade ago. Though rules do permit Arunachal to mine coal on its own,it can only use the same for captive projects and not sell outside, he said.
He also said Arunachal was getting just nothing in comparison to the contractors engaged by it to extract and sell the coal. While coal from Arunachal Pradesh is sold at Rs 7,500 per metric tonne,the state government was getting only Rs 500 per tonne as royalty,which itself is a huge loss, he said.
The Arunachal government has denied any illegality. There is some illegal coal mining in Jairampur in Tirap district. But that again is not Coal Indias jurisdiction. We have our own mining corporation to handle coal mining inside our state, Kamlung Mossang,Arunachal Minister for Mining told The Indian Express. We have seized some trucks and the SP has been directed to take legal action against the culprits. As far as engaging a firm to extract coal,the same has been given a mining lease as per rules and there is nothing illegal or irregular about it.