Thursday, April 18, 2024
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WGH DC’s crackdown on illegal brick clamps garners solidarity

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From Our Correspondent

Tura, Feb 5: Complainants against the setup and running of hundreds of illegal brick clamps in the plain belt of West Garo Hills (WGH), Nazmul Hashan among others have welcomed the move of the deputy commissioner to impose prohibitory orders in an effort to tackle the menace that has caused serious alarm in the area but stated that they were still waiting for a crackdown.
Various complainants from the plain belt, especially from the Rajabala region had written to various authorities including the DC, the Meghalaya Pollution Control Board (MPCB), the Central PCB among others to seek the closure of hundreds of such illegal set ups, most of which were close to or within residential areas.
After their complaint to the CPCB, the MPCB sought the promulgation of sec 144 CrPC in the plain belt to crack down on the illegal happenings. Their directive was provided more than a week ago. However after an inordinate delay in signing off the prohibitory orders, the DC finally imposed Sec 144 CrPC in the plain belt yesterday, Feb 4.
The complainants involved feel that while the move is necessary, it may have just come a little too late as environmental degradation, including forest reserve depletion has already ravaged the area.
Interestingly it was business as usual for the various illegal kilns with vehicles carrying timber as fuel seen moving through the AMPT road despite the prohibitory orders by the DC.
“Every day timber vehicles are moving in broad daylight, through the Phulbari, Rajabala and Bhaitbari areas, even in front of police stations and forest offices, without anyone taking any action. They have been emboldened due to the inaction by those in authority whose only aim it seems is to collect from these illegal vehicles. The result is that we have already lost huge amounts of forest cover in the plain belt and surrounding areas. Farm lands too have been ravaged and will take time to recover,” said Nazmul.
He added that they had been hopeful of action being taken quickly following their complaint but were left dejected at the delay in the response.
“We cannot wait till the season comes to an end for action on this serious matter. Once the season ends in the month of April, the operation of illegal brick kilns will automatically go down. If there is no action taken by the authorities concerned, we will be coerced to move to the competent Court to help us,” he added.
He further felt that if action in the matter was delayed by the concerned authorities, then the onus of violating their constitutional rights would fall on those that delayed action.

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