Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Panel devises action plan to deal with illegal coke plants

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SHILLONG, Sep 20: After the cracking of whip by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) earlier this year, the Environmental Coordination Committee (ECC) of Elaka Sutnga in East Jaintia Hills on Tuesday came up with a nine-point action plan to deal with illegal coke plants.
In a judgment on July 28 this year, the NGT had directed the state government to take appropriate action to frame an action plan regarding the offending coke oven units established prior to December 23, 2020, to make them compliant of the sitting norms laid down.
The NGT had also told the government to come up with its implementation within a period of four months.
However, the government is yet to take any action on the NGT directive.
Speaking to reporters, ECC legal adviser Reading War said the committee waited two months for the state government to formulate an action plan complying with the NGT judgment before devising a nine-point action plan of its own. “It seems like the state government is sleeping since there has been no direction to prepare the action plan,” War said.
According to him, the action plan should be operational within the period of four months, which is before November 2022.
“We will be compelled to take matters into our own hands if the state government failed to implement the action plan,” ECC legal adviser said.
The ECC, in its action plan, mentions that all offending coke oven units that were established prior December 2020 and have obtained Consent To Operate (CTO) but could not meet the sitting norms as provided should be closed down before November 2022.
If relocation of such coke oven units would be a part of the action plan, no coke plants should be granted permission to operate within Elaka Sutnga or East Jaintia Hills district, the plan states.
According to it, the government will not declare any area or places as industrial area or commercial area within the Elaka Sutnga under any circumstances.
Other conditions mentioned in the action plan include — no cluster of operation of coke plants should be granted with permission, and all stand alone units should not be converted into cluster; no coke oven plant should be granted permission to operate within the Elaka in the near future; on expiry of the time frame given under, all offending coke oven units should be given with direction to dismantle and to recreate restore the place and surrounding; the environmental compensation which has been imposed to 31 different offending coke units altogether computing up to Rs 5.5 crore must be finalised before November; and that compensation money should be given to the villages affected due to the coke plants to revive the environment and living conditions of these affected villages.

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