As per the RTI from MSPCB there are 37 number of coke plants in EJH District: Mr. Reading

Shillong, June 25: In recent past few months, the number of coke plants sprung up illegally in Elaka Sutnga. It is of grave concern for the general public of the Elaka. Therefore, after the complain by the residents and Dorbar shnong, the youth of the Elaka in the banner of Environment Co-ordination Committee have to come forward to protest against the illegal coke plants.

The waste and toxic emission from the said factories without proper prior treatment are hazardous to the health of the general population residing nearby these factories. The villages most affected includes Moopala, Sookilo, Sutnga, Umlawang, Mookympad, Tluh, Jarain, Sakhain, Sakhian Mooliment, Latyrke, Lamyrsiang, Moolamylliang, Lelad, Tangnub, Byndehati, Umtyra, Umrangso, Nongrim Hills, Nongsning, Jalaphet Bri-Sutnga, Moolait Bri-Sutnga and all adjacent villages.

As per the RTI sought from MSPCB on the 17/03/2021 there are 37 number of coke plants in East Jaintia Hills District and applied for the clearance from the concerned authority/authorities and only 5 number have obtained Concern to Operate (CTO) and 7 who obtained only Concern to Establish (CTE) the rest are operating and establishing without any valid documents and all illegal in whole East Jaintia Hills District.

It was found in the RTI that was sought from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India on the 10/06/2021, no Environmental Clearance has been granted to Coke Plants, because there are none of the Coke Plants produce more than 25000 (Twenty-Five Thousand) Metrix Tones per annum as per notification EIA 2006 that only if the Coke Plant production capacity is more than 25000 Metrix tone per annum then it is mandatory for Environment Clearance from the ministry.

This is the master plant to flout all the Environment Clearance norms/and guideline from the concerned ministry. it is also found that all these coke plants are operating within the protection of C.T.O and C.T.E of Standalone norms/guidelines whereas in reality they are operating and establishing in the context of Cluster, because 5 to 8 units of the coke plants are operating within the radius of 1 Km.

Now the question is that even though the Stand-alone coke plants is producing within 25000 metrix tone per annum if the distance between the unit is less than 1 km it amount o cluster operation of coke plants, so they need to obtain the Environment clearance from the ministry provided with the concern of those affected area (Public) by way of conducting Public Hearing as per the EIA Notification 2006.

Surprisingly the MSPC is granting CTE and CTO to the 12 units of Coke plants without ascertaining and conducting survey the location despite notified the guidelines/norms for establishment of coke plants on the notification No.MSPCB/TB-153(Pt-i)/2020-21/132 dated 23/12/2020. These coke plants are operating and establishing near the inhabitation areas, School, Church, stream and rivers that sows the MSPCB flouting its own guidelines.

In the last few days, we found that the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) have accepted 7 application and the same were forwarded to the State Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) for recommendation it is clearly understandable there are involvement of some people who are in the chair for evaluate and examine the application even during the closure of the office because of the lock down.

The Chief Minister during the Budged Session on the 15.08.2020 there are 21 number of coke plants have been detected in the stare where as there are only 4 have been operating legally whereas the rest are illegal. Also, the CM further stated that closure notice have been issue to the illegal coke plants and action will be taken as per law, it seem the matter was not taken jokingly by the Hon’ble CM instead, there are countless numbers of the Coke plants have been obtained Clearance Certificate from the Single Window Agency (SWA) in the last few months as Chair by the CM and thing have gone upside down.

We are also deeply concerned about the potential short term and long-term impact of the Coke factories on emission of the dangerous greenhouse gases during the process of burning and combustion of the coal like Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Dioxide, Sulphur Oxide, Smoke Particles and many more.

What have the residents around of different villages already symptom and experienced at the very early stage, like headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness confusion, and irritability. Continues exposure can lead to respiratory tract infection, vomiting, loss consciousness, brain damage, heart irregularity, breathing difficulty, muscle weakness, abortion and even death.

At high concentration of Carbon mono oxide kill in less than five minutes and there would be no question of doubt left with huge number of coke plants operating at the same time within the inhabitation area flouting all norms and criteria, the people of the Elaka would live a life in no less than a concentration camp.

Further to mention that all waste material and toxic waste are straining freely to the open environment without proper treatment for which causes the water body of the streams and rivers highly pollute and harmful to the aquatic life. Moreover, the agricultural land of some section of the people who depend on agriculture have become barren land due to chemical released from the said plants.

Hence it is clear and understandable that all environmental norms and guidelines are flouted as evident from the above illegal activities. Such violation of the norms/criteria by these coke factories/plants not only violates the rules and regulation, but also infringed the basic and fundamental rights of the people/resident of the Elaka as guaranteed by the Constitution of India under Article 21 as “Right to Life”.

Therefore, under the “Right to Life” it gives predominance than any other interest including economics interest. In the largest democracy of the world, we cannot permit economic interest to be preferred over the right to life and live in healthy environment, just because the activity should be allowed to carry on.

I would also like to emphasize and highlight that our economy has mainly been forest based subsistence farming and agriculture since the distant past and are regulated on the basis of customary, clan, community and individual forest ownership practices in consonance with the precedent and tradition and under the protection of the 6th Schedule of the Constitution.

Therefore, the Environment Co-ordination Committee, Elaka Sutnga along with the Waheh Shnong of the Elaka on behalf of their respective village Dorbar have given the Complaint letter to the Deputy Commissioner, East Jaintia Hills District on the 23rd June 2021, at the same time the office of the DC have given the assurance, Show Cause notice will be issued to the proprietors of all the Coke plants and if legality cannot be proved then action will be taken. Said Mr. Reading War, (Advocate) Legal Adviser The Environment Co-ordination Committee  Elaka Sutnga, East Jaintia Hills District.

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