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NGT panel let down by Meghalaya Govt Proceedings on environment protection
Staff correspondent
 SHILLONG, Dec 4 - Despite holding 24 proceedings to safeguard the State’s environment and chalk out the way forward, the NGT committee, chaired by Justice (retd) BP Katakey, was let down by the State Government due to non-cooperation.

Sources said in many of those 24 hearings, the State Government did not cooperate in sharing information with the committee and these have reflected on the committee’s proceedings.

Out of the 24 proceedings, 20 were held with respect of degradation of environment and four special proceedings were conducted for formulation of a safe and scientific mining plan and auction of extracted coal.

Instructions were also provided by the committee to the nodal officer to upload the details of no-cooperation on the State Government’s website, the sources added.

Six reports have been submitted to the NGT so far by the committee with different recommendations to improve the environment devastated by unscientific coal mining and also plans to restore it.

Sources said the committee also had an unstated mandate to ensure that no illegal mining takes place or if violation takes place, “proper action” is taken.

Apart from seeking information on details of the 32 lakh metric tonnes of extracted coal to be auctioned by the Coal India Limited, other directions given to the State Government and action-taken reports sought by the committee were not complied with.

The State Government sent replies to some of these directions of the committee, stating that it has no jurisdiction. However, when the committee rephrased the directions as suggestions for the cause of environmental protection, the State Government still did not react, stating that the committee has overstepped its jurisdiction.

However, as the State Government did not furnish detailed information and also did not take suggestions from the committee, a number of objectives of the committee were not achieved as desired.

Meanwhile, Justice Katakey has decided to step down as the committee’s chairman, citing “personal reasons” for his decision. He sent a letter to this effect to the Registrar General of the Supreme Court of India on Tuesday to relieve him of his responsibilities.

Sources added the chairman has decided to step down largely due to the non-cooperation of the State Government and added it was not cooperating for “reasons best known to it”.

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