Coal transportation | Representative Image

The Voice of the People Party (VPP) on February 21 said that some people, including those who are at the helm of affairs, have become “millionaires” from the alleged illegal coal trade in Meghalaya.

“It is also said that some people have become millionaires, and that includes some of those who are at the helm of affairs in the state today, from this illegal activity,” VPP chief Ardent M Basaiawmoit said in a statement.

Alleging that the NPP-led MDA government is trying to find ways and means to legalize the transportation of coal, extracted illegally, Basaiawmoit said that is why the state government is now coming up with a notification to allow the transportation of coal, from different states and even outside the country to Bangladesh via Meghalaya.

“This is nothing but to conceal illegal coal mining in the state which has been there since the banning of rat-hole mining in the state,” he said while adding that as a result of this continuing illegal transportation of coal in Meghalaya, roads and many bridges are in a very bad shape, and poses a serious risk to commuters and travellers.

The VPP leader further stated that the worst part is that even death failed to prick their conscience. “As citizens of the state we have seen through various media reports about the deaths of many workers inside the coal mines in different parts of the state,” he added.

However, the state government continues to deny that there is any kind of illegal extraction of coal, he further added.

Further, Basaiawmoit also slammed the Meghalaya government for claiming that there is no illegal transportation of coal in the state. “Whereas people witness the plying of coal-laden trucks on the road everywhere, both day and night since the ban came into effect,” he also said.

He cited that accidents and collisions by these overloaded coal trucks result in traffic jams on roads and national highways every now and then. “Ultimately, the people and the citizens of the state have to bear the brunt of these corrupt practices indulged by those who are in power,” he said.

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