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Time to pay royalty extended

M’laya submits mining guidelines to NGT
New Delhi: In a relief to coal mine owners in Meghalaya, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday extended the time for payment of royalty of already extracted coal in the state by a month.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also directed the Ministry of coal and Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to examine the draft guidelines on mining submitted by Meghalaya government expeditiously.
The Meghalaya government on Tuesday submitted draft mining guidelines for coal mining activities in the state to the NGT following the interim ban on coal mining since April 2014 in the state.
The green panel passed the order to extend the time of royalty payment till October 31 after the counsel for Meghalaya government sought the extension saying incessant rains have hampered the coal transportation process.
Passing a slew of directions, the Tribunal had earlier allowed transportation of coal strictly in accordance with the guidelines prepared by the committee under Additional Chief Secretary K S Kropha and orders of the tribunal.
It had last year ordered coal miners and transporters of Meghalaya to pay about Rs 400 crore royalty to the state government as per Mines Development and Regulation Act, 1957, before transporting the 6.3 million tonnes of extracted coal lying in depots across the state.
The NGT also ordered the state government to collect 10 per cent of the said market value of the coal per metric tonne from each person in addition to the royalty payable to it.
The Ministry of Environment and Forest in consultation with the Chief Secretary of Meghalaya must find out the ways and means to implement the draft guidelines. “It also should find out if any amendment is needed for the mining guidelines,” the state Government counsel Ranjan Mukharjee said.
The mine owners have been given time till October 31 to pay the royalty.
However, the transportation of extracted coal will be till November 30 as earlier decided.
However, if further extension is needed for transportation, the matter can be taken up with NGT.  The state government maintained the stand that over 300 crore rupees royalty has already been received on this front and rains had hampered the coal transportation.
The Meghalaya Government submitted the mining plan to the NGT as per its order in February this year, Mukharjee said. The state government also submitted details of few illegal mining as per reports received from all the districts.
There is no illegal coal mining in some districts and wherever such activates has been reported the state administration has taken action, the report submitted by Mukharjee said. The state Government also submitted coal mining plan to the tribunal with complete design and scientific methods to be adopted.
During the hearing, Mukharjee, appearing for Meghalaya, who submitted the draft guidelines for coal mining activity in the state, told the bench that there cannot be a general mining policy for all the mines but it should rather be mine-specific.
The government of Meghalaya, Department of mining and Geology, Shillong has formulated the draft guidelines for coal mining activity in the state. The draft guidelines prepared by Department of Mining and Geology, Shillong was placed before the Expert Group headed by the Chief Secretary, Meghalaya.
“After receiving the inputs from the various members of the Expert Group, the draft guidelines have been approved and cleared by the Expert Group in the 4th meeting on September 17. The guidelines have been submitted to the Ministry of Coal and MoEF,” Mukharjee added.

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