By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: Following CAG exposé on the failure of the state government to adhere to the Forest Conservation Act has compelled the Jaintia Youth Federation (JYF) central body to further pressurize the government to close down the cement factories operating in Jaintia Hills.
“This is a very serious matter indeed and the government’s failure has affected its exchequer to a large extent whereby it was mentioned that the state has lost revenue to the tune of Rs 43.45 crore due to its lack of will”, JYF president P Majaw told reporters here on Tuesday.
In this regard, the union has submitted a memorandum to the chief minister Dr Mukul Sangma demanding immediate closure of these cement factories operating in Jaintia Hills.
“We would also like to see the state government recover from such a huge loss”, he added.
It may be reminded that the CAG report tabled in the state assembly recently slammed the state government for flouting the rules of the Forest and Conservation Act by allowing the cement plants to function without approval costing the government Rs 43 crore.
“There are 8 cement factories listed in the CAG reports and the state would have got the revenue of Rs 1000 crores but the lack of will on the part of the government to keep their operation in abeyance has resulted in this loss”, Majaw said.
According to the memorandum, the union has expressed displeasure over the insensitiveness of the government officials when it comes to preserving forest lands.
“When the ministry of forest and environment has said that the areas are forests, how can government officials say that it’s not forest”, the memorandum stated.
“If the issues are not addressed, we may have to face difficult times in the days to come, as the companies are not interested in replenishing the forest, but only interested in minting money, turning our lands into deserts and polluting our rivers”, Majaw stated.
Meanwhile, shifting their attention to the pathetic water condition in the state, the union has asked the government to take serious note on this issue.
It may be recalled that the CAG has come down heavily on the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board for its inability to conduct regular monitoring of water bodies whereby it was found that out of 31 water bodies in six districts of the state, 28 are unfit for drinking. Following the CAG reports, the Gauhati High Court took a suo moto cognizance of the matter and directed the state government to explain the steps initiated to check air, water and waste pollution in the state within three weeks.