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State intends to engage IIM Shillong for ensuring strategic checkpoint to curb overladen vehicles: Meghalaya High Court

The Meghalaya High Court hearteningly noted that the State intends to engage the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong for a blueprint for ensure that checkpoints may be put up at strategic places to completely arrest plying of overladen goods vehicles.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice B. Bhattacharjee  disposed of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL)  filed pertaining to the movement of coal in the State and it is the assertion of the petitioner that illegally mined coal is transported in heavy vehicles without following the procedure prescribed under the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 or the rules thereunder.

From the  latest report of August 22, 2023 filed on behalf of the State by the Secretary to the Transport Department the Court noted  that there are at present 28 weighbridges at checkpoints notified by the State government and such weighbridges are operational.   

The report further reveals out of the 28 weighbridges, 24 are under the control of the Transport Department and four weighbridges have been set up by the Mining and Geology Department. The Court noted that some action taken by the State to control the overloading of goods vehicles plying on the National and State highways in Meghalaya, including vehicles carrying minerals.

In addition, the Transport Department has placed orders for six weigh-pads out of which two have been received. One of the weighing pads has been installed at Dalu and the other is being installed at Umtyrnga in Ri-Bhoi.  

The Court hoped that the remaining four weigh-pads are installed within the next six weeks. At any rate, the mere fact that there may be 28 weighbridges and six weigh-pads may not count for anything unless regular and honest checking is undertaken. The several points where the weighbridges and weigh-pads are installed should be monitored by CCTV so that the weights indicated cannot be tampered with or overweight goods vehicles allowed to pass on extraneous considerations , the Bench directed.
In particular, not only should the checkpoints check for the weights in vehicles carrying minerals, but the origin and source of the minerals should also be looked into , the Bench further directed.

“In view of the report and in the hope that adequate steps will now be taken to check the menace that the petitioner complain of, the present petition is closed with liberty to the petitioner to apply afresh in the event the State is found lacking in such regard”, the order reads.

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