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KSU threatens to file complaint with NGT
Limestone mining in EJH
SHILLONG/ Jowai: The Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) has threatened to file a complaint to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) if the government goes ahead with the public hearing on January 30 for proposed expansion of mining lease for limestone mining by Star Cement Company at Brichyrnot, East Jaintia Hills.
Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, KSU president Narpuh circle, KS Suchiang said a delegation of the union members met the member Secretary of the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board (MSPCB), JH Nengnong to register their objection to the public hearing for the proposed expansion of mining lease/mines by Star Cement Ltd.
“We oppose the public hearing for mining and if the government goes ahead with it, we will file a complaint to the NGT. The people in the areas are being duped that the cement plants will usher in development”, he said.
He recalled that the union along with the 6- Dorbar Shnong Wah Lukha Association and other NGOs opposed the public hearing that was held on October, 2019.
He was annoyed that in not less than three months, the MSPCB has decided to come up with another public hearing slated to be on January 30 and questioned as to the motive in holding the public hearing again. He said that the union members were directed to speak against limestone mining.
The union members were informed by Nengnong that the public hearing was held on the direction of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to solicit the opinion of the people.
“The government has seen the voices opposing it. So what is the intention of the government to start it again. On our part, we will continue to oppose the public hearing. We want to ensure that the posterity lives in a clean environment”, he said.
Suchiang expressed concern that Lukha river has turned blue leaving fishes dead and the water not fit for human consumption. He alleged that the wastes from cement plants flow to the Lukha and Lunar rivers.
He slammed the government for their lackadaisical attitude in not assessing the reason behind the Lukha river turning blue.
Criticising the MSPCB, he said that the pollution board cares less about environmental protection. He added that the union is firm in not allowing limestone mining in the area.
Suchiang said that the area of mining is adjacent to Narpuh Wildlife sanctuary which has been declared as Eco-Sensitive Zones. The landed property located at Brichyrnot village has an area of about 42.051 hectare.
Responding to critics that the KSU has been opposing developmental activities, he said that the union welcomes development but it should be at the cost of environment and questioned the fate of the two rivers if limestone is allowed.
Association of six villages withdraws stand on limestone mining
On the other hand, a member of 6- Dorbar Shnong Wah Lukha Association, said that they will not oppose the public hearing on limestone mining by Star Cement as the state government has allotted Rs 1 crore for rejuvenation of Lukha-Lunar river.
Asked whether they have not thought of destruction to forest cover which is the source of water bodies, a member of the association told The Shillong Times that they are concern with the Lukha river as the livelihood of people depends on it.
“There was no such project for River Lukha, we are grateful to the government for taking the matter”, the member said.
According to the general secretary of the association, Daiapher Lamare the decision to withdraw their protest and instead support Star Cement was taken in a meeting held on January 11 at Kuliang village.
The Hynriew Shnong Wah Lukha Association (association of six villages) comprises of six villages located downstream of the Lukha river which includes Sonapyrdi, Kuliang, Borsora, Lumtongseng, Sakhri and Shimplong.