The Thma U Rangli (TUR) has demanded severe action against officials of the of the Meghalaya State Pollution Board, State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and State Environmental Appraisal Committee (SEAC), who have allowed coke factories to proliferate and operate with impunity in East Jaiñtia Hills district.
Offering its support to the Environmental Coordination Committee Elaka Sutnga TUR in a statement today said that the coke factories, all established in the last few years, are in violation of all environmental guidelines and laws.
Pointing out that under the EIA law, the state government is required to assess proposals for small, or category B, coke factories according to strict norms before they grant permission, TUR said such factories, which are highly polluting, have to be approved by the SEIAA as well as SEAC to ensure that they are not established close to places of human habitation, wildlife refuges, agricultural land, water sources, and tourist areas and to deploy mitigating technologies to reduce the environmental damage they cause.
“However, the single window agency helmed by the Chief Minister has subverted and undermined the institutions responsible for protecting the health and wellbeing of the people of Meghalaya. The people appointed to these important posts have misused their authority to grant permissions to factories that flout all these rules and even use technologies, such as beehive ovens, which are banned in other countries for their extreme environmental repercussions,” TUR said.
Demanding immediate shut down of coke factories, the organisation made an appeal to the people of the State to stand in solidarity with the committee for bring these grave violations to light. It also questioned authorities on the source of coal to these new coke factories to operate.