Anti-coke units stir to be intensified

SHILLONG, Sep 21: The Environment Coordination Committee (ECC) and villagers of Elaka Sutnga are planning to intensify their protest if the demand to close down the coke factories is not met.
“We are going to meet the Deputy Commissioner on Thursday. We will hear the district administration out since it has sought more time for initiating action against these coke plants,” an ECC member said on Tuesday.
The members of the ECC in its meeting on Monday expressed concern over the government’s delay in closing down the coke plants with CTO (consent to operate) despite the proof of their illegal operation having been submitted to Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma.
A member said the ECC would exert pressure on the government to take action against the coke plants.
Sangma had assured to take action even against the units that obtained the CTE (consent to establish) for failing to follow the laid-down norms, a requisite for obtaining the CTO.
Referring to the Chief Minister’s recent statement in the Assembly that plants with a capacity of producing less than 25,000 metric tonnes annually do not come under the purview of the Environment Impact Assessment notification of 2006, ECC’s legal advisor Reading War said they have proof that the Sutnga coke units produce more than 25,000 MT annually.
He said two of the 13 coke plants in operation have an annual output of 39,000 MT and 26,000 MT.
War alleged that the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board has been silent on this despite knowing that these coke plants come under the 2006 EIA notification.
He also said the ECC will insist on the Forest and Environment department setting up a technical committee comprising experts to undertake a comprehensive study of all the aspects related to coke plants in the state for recommending environmental safeguards, addressing public health issues and commissioning pollution load study.
War said the Sutnga locals have also demanded the closure of all the coke plants until the comprehensive study is completed and measures suggested.
“Since the 2006 EIA notification has no provisions for regulating coke plants producing less than 25,000 MT per annum, the (pollution) board norms should be adhered to,” he said.
The proponent of such plants is required to submit a pre-feasibility report including the conceptual plan, seasonal air quality data for review and an appraisal by an expert committee, War said.

Get real time updates directly on your device, subscribe now.

Comments are closed.