Members of two pressure groups in East Jaiñtia Hills hit the streets today to protest against holding of the public hearing on the subject of a limestone and shale mining project by Star Cement at Brichyrnot village.
With placards and banners condemning the decision to hold the public hearing in the premises of the Deputy Commissioner’s office on November 21, the members of the East Jaiñtia National Council (EJNC) and Hynñiewtrep Youth Council (HYC), Jaiñtia Hills unit carried out a protest rally from Lad Block to the DC’s office.
EJNC president Sambormi Lyngdoh said, “A public hearing of only hundred people is not a public hearing. Even if the government decides to shift the venue we will not allow it.”
Lyngdoh accused the cement companies of trampling into the rights of the people and stated that they even failed to comply with the fares set by the government which prompted the Joint Action Committee of truck owners and transporters to protest. “These cement companies set up base here only to draw our valuable resources,” he added.
The two groups also questioned why the public hearing was scheduled at the DC’s office in Khliehriat which is under Rymbai Elaka when the project site is located at Brichyrnot, under Narpuh Elaka.
Lyngdoh said that the organisation had twice urged the Deputy Commissioner not to hold the public hearing in Khliehriat. However, he said, no decision was taken on the matter.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner E. Kharmalki told reporters that the venue of the public hearing is at a place near the old DC’s office in Khliehriat and the decision was taken by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change on June 18, 2020.
The Star Cement Company has proposed to expand limestone mining from 9 metric tonnes to 20 metric tonnes per day, at 42.051 hectares of land in Brichyrnot village, East Jaiñtia Hills.