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Locals stay opposed to new landfill site at Lumsohlait

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SHILLONG, July 7: The locals of 15 villages located adjacent to Umkhen river have decided to oppose the state government’s move to set up the new landfill site at Lumsohlait in Nonghali in East Khasi Hills district over the fear that it will pollute the river.
The decision to oppose it was taken at a public meeting convened by the Synjuk Nongsynshar Shnong Par Umkhen (SNSPU) at Umkhen bridge in Thadrang on Saturday.
Four resolutions were adopted in the meeting which was attended by the residents of the 15 villages from the three districts of East Khasi Hills, Ri Bhoi and West Jaintia Hills.
The first resolution was that a formal petition will be sent to Deputy Chief Minister Sniawbhalang Dhar, who is also the Urban Affairs Minister, to express opposition to the government’s proposal to set up the landfill site on a 200-acre of land at Nonghali.
The meeting decided to request the state government to inform the SNSPU before convening of the public hearing.
It was also resolved that another petition will be sent to the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council to lodge a complaint against the Sordar of Nonghali for taking a decision to identify the land for the new landfill without the knowledge of the Raid.
The meeting further resolved that the 15 villages are ready to take any drastic steps if the government is adamant on the issue.
SNSPU chairman S Rangaid said the reason they have decided to oppose this proposal is their fear that the landfill site will pollute the Umkhen river. He said the locals of the 15 villages will be badly affected if the river is polluted.
“We are here to lodge our protest against the government’s intention to set up the landfill site. We are seeking the support of the people to oppose this proposal,” Rangaid said.
The villagers were carrying placards with messages such as “Government should scrap the proposal to set up the landfill site at Nonghali”, “Pollution of Umkhen River will be worse than Wahumkhrah if this landfill site is allowed to come up” etc.
Besides members of the Khasi Students’ Union Eastern Central Division Unit, HNYM and FKJGP, JACBOM chairman Erwin K Sutnga and Synjuk ki Rangbah Shnong Border Area Block II, Blik Sohtun were also present in the meeting.
On Thursday, HITO Mawryngkneng circle had voiced strong opposition to the government’s move.
Stating that the organisation is not against development, HITO Mawryngkneng Circle president Shaniah Nongrum said their opposition is driven by concerns over environmental pollution, particularly the potential contamination of Wah Umkhen.
Earlier, Sniawbhalang Dhar had announced that the government would soon conduct a public hearing for the new landfill at Nonghali village. Dhar had mentioned that the Forest department is still assessing the feasibility of the land.
“If the land is feasible for the setting up of the landfill, we will go for a public hearing. If the village is willing, we will go ahead, but if the village does not want to, we will stop it. Simple,” Dhar had said.
The need for a new landfill has arisen as the lifespan of the existing dumping ground at Marten in Mawlai Mawiong has expired. The 18-acre site at Marten has been in use by the Shillong Municipal Board since 1938.

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