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Ban on road transportation of coal in Chhattisgarh

The move of the Central government may have far-reaching socio-political and implications in the wake of tension between the Centre and the state.

Statesman News Service | Raipur |

Amidst simmering tension with the Chhattisgarh government under Congress over the ongoing Income Tax and Enforcement Directorate (ED) action against alleged extortion in coal transport, the BJP-led Central government has now banned road transportation of coal. The move may have far-reaching socio-political and implications.

The Ministry of Coal has come up with a plan to scale up mechanised coal transportation and loading systems under ‘First Mile Connectivity’ projects that are dependent on rail evacuation and use of cross-country pipe conveyor systems.

The latest move of the Centre has been taken in keeping with a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order of 2020 disallowing transportation of coal by roads and mandating transportation through railway rakes and conveyor belts for certain extensively mined areas in the state of Chhattisgarh.

Out of a total of 141 blocks on offer in the 6th round of coal block auctions, 28 are in Chhattisgarh. Of these 28 blocks, 11 mines are located in the Tamnar Gharghoda administrative Block of Raigarh district which faces pollution due to large-scale transportation of coal by trucks from mines to coal consumers.

The move could also derail the illegal levy imposed on coal transporters or buyers, as has been alleged by the IT and ED, in the state

The NGT, in its order dated 27 February 2020, had directed the implementation of recommendations as proposed by the committee, constituted by NGT. One such important recommendation is the cessation of road transportation of coal in the Tamnar and Gharghoda blocks.

The NGT order had allowed a buffer period of one year from the date of the order. After the expiry of the said period, coal transportation was to be allowed either by rail or by closed conveyor belt only. Over the past two years, the railway infrastructure in this area has also scaled up.

Taking cognisance of the NGT order, the Ministry of Coal has uploaded the same on the MSTC Portal to bring this to the attention of the prospective bidders who may consider this while bidding for the mines/coal blocks situated in the Tamnar and Gharghoda.