The Political Party KHNAM asked the Meghalaya Chief Secretary to stop the public hear  

Shillong, Nov 16: KHNAM youth wing today has written to the Chief Secretary Government of Meghalaya  saying that conducting of public hearing at the office of the Deputy Commissioner of East Jaintia Hills is in violaion of the “Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, Government of India”.

In the letter KHNAM said that it was  learned that the M/s STAR CEMENT Meghalaya Ltd has proposed Mining Limestone & Shale Project over an area of 42.015 Ha, at Village Brichyrnot, East Jaintia Hills District, Meghalaya, wherein the public hearing under the provision of environment impact assessment notification, 2006 has been notified on two occasion i.e 19th October 2019 and 30th January 2020 and both were cancelled subsequently due to the opposition from various villages/NGOs and people of the area where the mining is proposed to be set up.

KHNAM said that this the third attempt to conduct a public hearing is scheduled to be held on the 21st November 2020 at the Campus of Deputy Commissioner Office, East Jaintia Hills District Khliehriat as notified vide letter No. EJHD/Rev-259/Pt-I/2019/57 dated 14th October 2020.

In the letter KHNAM mention that the first conducting the public hearing at the campus of Deputy Commissioner East Jaintia Hills on the 21st Nov 2020 is in violation of the “Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, Government of India”which clearly states that “The public hearing it to be conducted at the site of the new industry or nearby places”.

Secondly, the DC East Jaintia Hills District has notified that only 100 people will be allowed to attend the public hearing, this is totally unacceptable and against the spirit of Environment Impact Assessment Act and subsequent rules notified by the Govt of India from time to time. We would like to state that this is an attempt to silence the voice of thousands of people who would be hampered by the proposed project, and a hearing of just 100 selective people cannot be termed as public by “Private hearing”.

KHNAM would like to state that if the environmental clearance is granted to M/s Star Cementit would not be considered as legally valid certification on the ground that the procedure by which the public hearing was conducted was void ab initio. It means that the public hearing/conservation is being mentioned under EIA notification 1994, however, the procedure by which public consultation was done, which was not satisfactory.

There are various appositions to the proposed project from various stake holders due to impact it will have on the Environments and the resident of the villages nearby besides endangering the water bodies of the River Lukha located at the proposed site.

Various state holders have submitted letter to the Deputy Commissioner East Jaintia Hills for cancelling of the irregular/illegal public hearing scheduled on 21st Nov 2020, but seem to be an attempt to forcefully silent the voice of the people and stake holders.

KHNAM  as a Regional Political Party would like to also express our strong objection to the scheduled public hearing That, the proposed project would have a great impact to the environment and its surrounding. It needs to be mentioned that the proposed location is just 1.46 km from the wildlife sanctuary, 0.25 Km from the Eco Sensitive Zone and 1.38 Km from the River Lukha.

That, the general people of all the villages where the project is proposed have express their unwillingness/objection to the proposed project which has been made clear in the two attempts of the State authorities to conduct the hearing.

Indian judiciary, particularly the honourable Supreme Court has articulated that right to life as enshrined under article 21 of the Indian Constitution also includes right to get pollution free water and air.

In general, we can say that right to pollution free environment is a fundamental right. Therefore, Supreme Court in India has not only articulated and developed the right to environment as a fundamental right but also came forward to strike a balance of the inherent conflict of development versus environmental protection.

It is strongly requested that the public hearing scheduled on 21st November 2020 be stop since it is being conducted against the interest of the public at large, Said Mr Thomas Passah Vice President of the KHNAM Youth Wing in the press statement today.

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