SHILLONG, Jan 19 - Customs authorities at Dawki today allowed coal-laden trucks from Bhutan to cross over to Bangladesh after these were detained following a Supreme Court order banning transportation of coal in Meghalaya.
Altogether 16 Bhutan trucks had been detained at the Land Customs Station at Dawki since January 16 following the Supreme Court order passed on January 15.
The apex court banned transportation of coal in Meghalaya in the wake of the report of a committee, which said that illegal mining and transportation are still going on in the State.
“We released the 16 trucks after receiving an order from the Meghalaya Government today. All Bhutan trucks carrying coal will be allowed to cross over,” Superintendent of Dawki Customs, Debashish Modak, told The Assam Tribune.
Following the ban on transportation of coal, the Meghalaya Government has appealed before the Supreme Court and got some relief. Based on it, the Meghalaya Government passed a separate order on Friday. In the new order, it has been stated that “coal loaded before the January 15 order of the Supreme Court and in transit and coal extracted from outside the State (like the Bhutanese case) can be transported”.
Modak said that the Customs authorities have stopped the Bhutan trucks to comply with the Supreme Court order. “We were complying with the January 15 Supreme Court order,” he added.
Meanwhile, this is the second incident involving coal-laden trucks from Bhutan. In November last year, the Personal Security Officer of Social Welfare Minister Kyrmen Shylla illegally started checking trucks in West Jaintia Hills at the dead of night.
The PSO, Thmu Bait Dhar, his accomplice Chanky Lhuid and Deibormi Lyngdoh also assaulted Bhutanese truck driver Passang Dorji and Jity Kamy. Subsequently, the PSO and the other accused were arrested.
In the past few years, Bhutan coal has been in high demand in Bangladesh following the ban on coal mining in Meghalaya.
Coal is a scarce mineral in Bhutan and is found at Samdrup Jongkhar and parts of Pemagatshel district. Most of the coal is domestically consumed in the cement plants and a small amount is exported.
Bangladesh depends to a large extent on Meghalaya coal for its cement and power plants.