File photo of coal transportation in Meghalaya (Photo: The Shillong Times)

Refuting allegations that illegal coal transportation was going on in Meghalaya, chief minister Conrad Sangma on October 12 said that the government has been very clear that such illegal activities will not be allowed in the state.

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“These allegations are completely baseless. Now, whenever one sees movement of trucks in the national highway, people come to the natural conclusion that it is illegal movement (of coal),” Sangma told reporters after a cabinet meeting. He added that “people need to change their mindset.”

On media reports alleging the involvement of the state power minister James Sangma in the illegal coal racket, the chief minister said: “Allegations are very easy to make. But police have been told to make sure that no such activities take place.”

“I have been very clear that we have been very strict about this. I have taken personal interest in this and ensure that police have been told time and again to ensure that no (illegal) activity takes place. But as I said it is wrong sometimes for media houses or individuals to see a movement and say yes this coal truck must be illegal. There has to be some kind of base to do this,” he stated.

The chief minister said that his government was taking measures and has had frequent meetings with the police, the deputy commissioners and the transport department to ensure that there are no illegalities.

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Sangma also said that as per the direction of the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal, the government is setting up integrated check gates equipped with all the technologies.

He also said that no trucks without proper documents are allowed to move, adding that if there are movements of such vehicles, those are doing so with proper documents.

On BJP’s demand for a CBI inquiry, the chief minister said the government has to act in a responsible and practical manner as CBI is not an agency that can be called and used for anything that one would want.

“There has to be a proper and systematic way that this has to be approached. Therefore, if there are any issues, definitely we are going to look into it but I don’t think there are allegations that are with any kind of base right now,” he said.

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