The Chokpot Area Vigilance Committee (CAVC) members have been forced to move from pillar to post to seek an end to illegal quarrying of stones near the Dareng River that has been going on unabated.
Dareng River considered the second longest river in Garo Hills is also is a source of drinking water for the residents of nearly 30 villages downstream and the people depend on it for other purposes as well.
With no action on ground even after meeting Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, Tura MP Agatha K Sangma and their MLA, Sengchim N Sangma the committee members have now knocked the doors of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council and recently met with EM in charge of environment, Ashahel D Shira.
CAVC Chairman Jeshwell Ch Marak said they were told that the illegal act would be stopped as the district council has not granted the quarry owner, Alpha D Marak with a no objection certificate (NOC).
Marak said the committee apprised Shira of the hazardous impact stone quarry would have on the people, who are opposing it tooth and nail since the beginning of the activity.
“Such issues should be taken care of seriously and the ruling dispensation should make every effort to put an end to such activities by invoking certain provisions of the various acts which aims at preserving and protecting the environment,” the CAVC chairman said, adding, “If it fails to act we would be compelled to take drastic measures in the future in order to stop such activities.”
It may be mentioned that villagers have repeatedly complained to the authorities on illegal stone quarrying have had their pleas ignored.
The CAVC and the Budugre Village Environment Protection Committee have been leading the fight against the illegal stone quarry had said, that the Nokma of the area did not grant NOC for the quarrying, but the activity has carried on regardless.
In 2021, following a complaint to the Forest and Environment Department, Deputy Commissioner of South Garo Hills, Chokpot Sub-Divisional Officer, Chokpot police station and Garo Hills Autonomous District Council quarrying was paused, but resumed again this year.