The Jaintia National Council (JNC) today submitted a memorandum to the East Jaintia Hills Deputy Commissioner to oppose the public hearing over the expansion of cement operations that has been scheduled for August 24 and 25.
Meghalaya Cements Ltd and Green Valley Industries Ltd have received environmental clearance from the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority to extend a cement clinkerisation plant by Meghalaya Cements at Thangskai village and shale mining by Green Valley Industries at Brichyrnot.
The JNC has opposed these on several grounds.
Firstly, it claimed that the operations of the companies in the district has not led to much of an employment gain as very few locals are employed there, with most jobs, including those at the management level, being occupied by outsiders.
The pressure group also said that these companies have contributed little to the area that they operate in through corporate social responsibility schemes. It also accused the companies of not paying local contractors in a timely manner for goods and services provided.
Environmental effects also concerned the JNC, with it saying that Thangskai and Brichyrnot are home to endangered flora and fauna and the two villages are adjacent to eco-sensitive zones and the Narpuh Wildlife Sanctuary. The operations of these companies will also negatively affect local rivers and aquatic life. “Even at present, the rivers in these areas are becoming shallow due to soil erosion caused by random mining activities,” the JNC added.