The ban on coal mining in Meghalaya by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) is having its affect in other related industries as it is leading to the closure of the Cachar Paper Mill in Panchgram, Assam. The mill is a unit of the Hindustan Paper Corporation and has been facing financial crisis on account non-operation of the mill due to non-availability of coal.
Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Babul Supriyo said in the Lok Sabha yesterday that because of the coal mining ban imposed by the NGT in Meghalaya the Cachar Paper Mill has been operating erratically, leading to huge financial losses as the entire coal requirement of the mill used to come from Meghalaya. The house was also informed that coal cannot be procured from other sources as there is no broad-gauge linkage inside the mill premises, leading to shutting down of the mill every now and then for the last few years, due to shortage of raw material thereby incurring huge losses.
To overcome these challenges, a number of steps are being taken by the Central government, which has provided grant for meeting the operational costs of the mill. The NGT banned coal mining and its transportation last year after a petition was filed against the unscientific methods being carried out in the state which causes widespread pollution, especially in water bodies. The NGT had ruled that adequate precautions must be put in place to ensure safeguard of the environment before mining can restart.