Shillong, April 27 : Approximately over 3 lakh metric tons out of 14 lakh metric tons of reassessed/reverified inventoried coal is yet to be auctioned in Meghalaya.

This was informed by Justice BP Katakey, who is heading the Single Member Committee appointed by the Meghalaya High Court, after a meeting held on Friday.

“The remaining auction…would be around 3 lakh metric tons out of 14 lakh metric tons. However, the exact figure is difficult to say,” Katakey told reporters.

He reiterated that a little over 14 lakh metric tons of coal have been reassessed and not 32 lakh metric tons of coal as stated earlier in the affidavit filed before the Supreme Court.

Katakey informed that over 75,000 MT of coal is left to be transported to the designated depots. These include 5,000 MT of coal in West Khasi Hills and 70,000 MT in East Jaintia Hills.

“WKH deputy commissioner has assured to get the 5,000 MT of coal by tomorrow while the remaining 70,000 MT of coal, I have asked the DC of East Jaintia Hills to verify the existence of the 70,000 MT of coal and get it transported to the designated depot within 15 days from now so that we can have entire inventoried coal in the designated depot under the control of the state government,” he said.

Stating that a drone survey is also being proposed by the committee, Katakey said, “And thereafter, we are proposing to have a drone survey. We also want to take the assistance of NESAC people and we have invited them for the next meeting to explore the possibility of satellite imagery of those coal producing areas to find out whether any more coal is available.”

“If we find availability of any mined coal on land that is illegally mined coal, the entire coal will be seized and no amount will be paid to coal owners and the entire amount will go to the exchequer of the state for the benefit of Meghalaya,” he warned.

Meanwhile, the Katakey committee has also asked the state government to grant some extension for successful bidders to make payment for the entire auction amount. The successful bidders have claimed that they are unable to make the payment as the market is down.

“What we have discussed today is since the auction by the CIL, the entire process takes a long time and we have to pay 10% of the value of the auction to the CIL apart from some amount to the MSTC who conducts the auction, so I have told the government to allow for some extension for reasonable period of time to make payment of entire auction value if necessary in instalments and with a notice to them that if you do not pay the last instalment, the entire amount will be forfeited to the state and the coal would be put to reauction,” Katakey said.

Asked, the chairman of the committee informed that there were two auctions held on March 14, 2023 and November 3, 2023.

“On 14.3.2023 auction, we put 4.42 lakh metric tons and out of that 3.38 lakh metric tons were sold in auction and payment of the entire bid value in respect of 2.53 lakh have been paid by successful bidders but the lifting was only in respect of 1.93 lakh metric tons. So therefore, out of 3.38 lakh metric tons sold on 14.3.2023 almost 1.45 lakh metric tons they have not paid…Similarly, on 3.11.2023 auction , 5.92 lakh metric tons was put for auction. Sale was very good. 5.88 lakh metric tons sold in auction but the full payment in respect of 1.48 lakh metric tons has been made. That means almost 4.40 lakh metric tons sold in auction, the bidders are yet to pay and generally their stand is that the market is down so we are unable to pay, please extend the time,” he said.