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Chhattisgarh Government Reinstates E-Permits for Coal Transportation, Ending Controversial Manual System

The Chhattisgarh government has announced the reinstatement of e-permits for coal transportation, marking the end of a controversial manual system that had resulted in extortions and legal troubles for officials. This decision comes following the revelation of irregularities and corruption in the previous manual process.

Under the previous Congress regime, changes were made to the clearance norms for coal transportation, which led to the implementation of a manual system for issuing no-objection certificates (NOC) for coal transportation. However, the lack of a proper procedure for this manual system created loopholes that were exploited for corrupt practices.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai addressed the Assembly, highlighting the drawbacks of the offline process, including delays and corrupt practices. He emphasized that the restoration of e-permits will streamline coal transportation, benefiting both the industry and the government.

The manual system had facilitated extortion of illegal coal levy, with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) estimating the scam to be over Rs 450 crore. The ED’s investigation revealed the involvement of senior bureaucrats, businessmen, politicians, and middlemen in the extortion racket.

Thirty-five individuals, including sitting legislator Devendra Yadav, suspended IAS officers Sameer Bishnoi and Ranu Sahu, and other prominent figures, have been named as accused in the coal levy scam. The majority of the accused, including the two IAS officers, have been arrested, underlining the severity of the corruption allegations.

Chhattisgarh, being a significant coal-producing state, recorded substantial coal output last year, further emphasizing the importance of ensuring transparent and efficient transportation processes.

The reinstatement of e-permits is expected to not only expedite coal transportation but also curb corrupt practices, thereby fostering a more conducive environment for both the coal industry and the state’s governance.

 

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