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SHILLONG: The National Green Tribunal bench of the eastern zone in Kolkata has asked the State Government to initiate steps to protect the Myntdu river and the surrounding environment.
The NGT bench took up the matter on April 10 and during the course of hearing, several government agencies submitted their compliance reports.
The order came following the petition filed by Sajay Laloo from Panaliar, Jowai.
The principal chief conservator of forest had informed that his department has already issued an order banning sand mining from the river bed and to shut down the two stone quarries about 200 meters away from the Myntdu. The quarries were seen as major contributors to siltation and pollution in some portions of the river.
The Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board too has submitted its report on the excessive amount of coliform found in the river, besides other bio-chemical parameters.
However, the Jowai Municipal Board, which is the main body in controlling pollution in Jowai town, came up with an excuse of shortage of fund.
The tribunal remarked that “since the entire issue falls within the Jowai Municipal Board area, the Board is expected to be more pro-active and ensure that all instructions issued by the State Government for mitigation are complied with and in case of any financial crunch faced by them, they have the liberty to approach the State Government”.
NGT issued direction to all errant officials to file appropriate reply and submit the same before the next date of hearing on May 18. There is acute shortage of clean drinking water in Jaintia Hills despite the fact that there is maximum number of rivers and streams in both the districts.