Soil and Water Conservation Minister, Hamletson Dohling, has sought the withdrawal of the environmental clearance accorded to Star Cement for expansion of its mining project at Brichyrnot village in East Jaiñtia Hills.
Dohling said that the environmental clearance was issued based only on the recommendation of the Deputy Commissioner, which did not adhere to the requirement for a public hearing but only utilised written submissions of support.
He wrote to Union Minister of Environment and Forests, Prakash Javadekar, to say that the cement company was given the green signal despite stiff opposition from villagers and other stakeholders. Three attempts to hold public hearings conducted by the Deputy Commissioner had to be abandoned because of the fierce opposition.
On June 8, Star Cement was given clearance for its mining lease of 42.05 hectares located at Brichyrnot, with a production capacity of 2.507 million tonnes per annum (TPA) of limestone and 0.217 million TPA of shale.
This has evoked strong protest from the people of Meghalaya even as Chief Minister Conrad Sangma feigned innocence last week by stating that the environmental clearance was granted by the central government and not by the state.
Meanwhile, the Hynñiewtrep Integrated Territorial Organization (HITO) shot off an open letter to the CM relating to the procurement of the environmental certificate.
Stating that a feeble and slack response to the matter will only confuse people who are genuinely concerned about the well-being of their motherland, HITO said that they call upon all parties concerned to put an end to this issue by laying all cards on the table for natural justice to prevail.