‘No interference into green nod to Star Cement’

SHILLONG, June 23: Forest and Environment Minister, James Sangma on Wednesday made it clear that the state government has not taken any decision on intervening into the environmental clearance given by the Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change to Star Cement Meghalaya Limited for expansion of its mining operation at Brichyrnot village in East Jaintia Hills, despite stiff opposition to the green nod.
“Environmental clearance for any mining project does not come under the purview of the state government. It is the prerogative of the Ministry of Forrest, Environment and Climate Change to grant the necessary clearance for that particular project. The procedure is laid down that environmental and social impact assessment has to be done and for that a public hearing has to be conducted,” he said.
Recalling that the officials had tried thrice to hold public hearings but failed owing to disruption and agitation, Sangma said that if attempt to hold public hearings fails three times, then the onus of granting environmental clearance lies completely with the Ministry.
Acknowledging the concerns of the people, he said, “We understand our responsibility in terms of trying to preserve the delicate ecological balance in our state but at the same time, we have to follow necessary rules and laws and that is what we have done in terms of the environmental clearance granted to Star Cement.”

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