The Khun Hynñiewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) has stated that the Meghalaya Pollution Control Board has violated the Environment Impact Assessment notification 2006 as it failed to invite objections and suggestions from stakeholders as mandated by the guidelines.
“As per the video circulated it is evident that there is an attempt to stop those who opposed the proposed expansion from attending the hearing which is against the core values of the Environmental Impact Assessment,” KHNAM leader, Thomas Passah said.
Stating that an attempt was made to ensure that the cement company gets the environmental clearance to move ahead with the proposed project, Passah said that the hearing officer stated that he is not aware of any person(s) who objected to the proposed expansion. “This is surprising, because everyone in the state and outside the state saw that there was excessive use of force by the police and women and children were manhandled,” he added.
He questioned if the police was acting at the behest of the Topcem management stating that videos available showed that owner and management of the company were giving directions to the cops to beat up protesters and even used foul language.
“We demand an explanation from the police department and the government to clarify whether the police today acted on the direction of the management of Topcem or not. If not then those involved in provoking police personnel today need to be arrested and booked under Section 505 of the IPC and other relevant sections of law,” he stated.
He further questioned if the people have benefited from the cement plants that have mushroomed in most parts of the state that have caused huge environmental and health impacts.
Passah said, “Most of these factories do not even have an office in Meghalaya and operate from Guwahati. They use our soil and resources, damage water and hills; endanger the climate and our future for them to earn profits and benefits.”
He stated that the cement factories have appointed “local directors” and their job is to solely handle NGOs and organizations.