The Khun Hynñiewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) State Youth Wing today petitioned the Chief Secretary opposing the scheduled public hearing at Khliehriat on the proposed limestone and shale mining project.
A public hearing on the proposed project, to be carried out by Star Cement is scheduled for November 21. The project would cover an area of 42 hectares at Brichyrnot village, East Jaiñtia Hills.
Several organisations have raised objections to the public hearing questioning the venue stating that as per the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 public hearing should be conducted at the site of the project or nearby places.
Similarly, the KHNAM too is opposed to the public hearing base and in a letter to Chief Secretary MS Rao today said that proposed venue is in violation of the notification.
Pointing out that the number of people who could attend the hearing was placed at 100 persons, KHNAM said it is unacceptable and against the spirit of Environment Impact Assessment Act.
“We would like to state that this is an attempt to silence the voice of thousands of people, who would be hampered by the proposed project, and a hearing of just 100 selective people cannot be termed as public but it’s a “private hearing,” KHNAM said.
Stating that if the environmental clearance is granted to M/s Star Cement it would not be considered as legally valid certification on the ground that the procedure by which the public hearing was conducted was void an initial, he said that there are various oppositions to the proposed project from various stake holders due to impact it will have on the environment and the resident of the villages nearby besides endangering the water bodies of the River Lukha located at the proposed site.
Further stating that the proposed location is just 1.46 km from the wildlife sanctuary, 0.25 Km from the Eco Sensitive Zone and 1.38 Km from the River Lukha, he said that the Indian judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court has articulated that right to life as enshrined under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution also includes right to get pollution free water and air.
“In general, we can say that right to pollution free environment is a fundamental right. Therefore, Supreme Court in India has not only articulated and developed the right to environment as a fundamental right but also came forward to strike a balance of the inherent conflict of development versus environmental protection,” it said.