Illegal coal mining and its transportation have been going on in Assam and the state government is taking action to prevent such activities, the Assembly was informed on Saturday.
In a written reply to a query by Congress MLA Rekibuddin Ahmed, state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, however, said that there is no "coal syndicate" operating at present.
"Incidents of illegal mining and transportation of coal are taking place and the government is aware of it. The government has not shown any leniency in taking action as per the law and has always been strict against persons involved in such crimes," the minister said.
Currently, the cases of illegal coal mining and its transportation are being investigated by CID wing of the Assam Police, he said.
From January 2016 to October 2019, a total of 254 cases of illegal coal transportation have been registered and 422 persons were arrested, while 665 coal-laden vehicles were seized in this period, Patowary said on behalf of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal who holds the Home portfolio.
On the other hand, the Office of the Transport Commissioner has intercepted a total of 10,793 trucks transporting coal for overloading across the state, the House was informed.
Patowary said that the government has instructed officials to set up a state-level evaluation committee and asked some specific districts to form teams comprising personnel from the administration, police, transportation, finance (tax), forest and environment departments to prevent illegal trading of the fossil fuel.
On June 24 this year, Patowary had said that over 100 persons, including government officials, were arrested in 2018-19 for their alleged involvement in "coal syndicate".
"The CM had written to CBI for a probe into the syndicate about a year ago. CBI has not responded yet. Maybe they will respond as it is from the CM's Office," he had said at a press conference.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)