The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Government of Meghalaya to deposit the amount of Rs. 100 crore fine imposed on it by National Green Tribunals (NGT) for failing to curb illegal coal mining with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
A Supreme Court bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and K M Joseph directed the state administration to hand over the illegally extracted coal to Coal India Limited (CIL) which will auction it and deposit the funds with the state government.
The bench also allowed the mining operation to go on in the state on the privately and community owned land subject to the permissions from the concerned authorities.
On January 4 last, the NGT had fined the Meghalaya government and during the hearing, the state government had admitted that a large number of mines were operating illegally in the northeastern state.
In an incident of illegal coal mining, a total of 15 miners were trapped on December 13 at Ksan in East Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya, about 3.7 km deep inside a forest when water from the nearby Lytein River gushed into it.
However, only two bodies have been recovered so far from the mine.
The top court, earlier refused to allow miners to transport extracted coal lying at various sites in Meghalaya.