160 projects got environmental clearance in Meghalaya in 12 years: James Sangma
Shillong: A total of 160 environmental clearances have been issued by the state government, under the Environment Impact Assessment 2006 notification. This was revealed by the Meghalaya minister of forests & environment James Sangma on Tuesday.
Responding to a question raised by MLA Mayralborn Syiem during the question hour of the Autumn Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, Sangma said that these 160 clearances were made between 2008 and 2020.
According to Sangma, the Environmental Clearance granted (off-line) by state Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) is 39, Environmental Clearance granted (online) by (SEIAA) is 26, Environmental Clearance granted by District Environment Impact Assessment Authority (DEIAA) (off-line) is 95, and under examination in State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) & State Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) is 36.
Syiem said that despite many procedures followed by the state government, the society has paid a huge environmental price for development. He added that the state witnessed many issues that hamper the society as a whole.
When asked about the Meghalaya government’s take on the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2020, Sangma informed that the state government had submitted its comments to the Government of India.
Sangma said the comments submitted were on the public consultation that the 45 days period for consultation should be restored. Another was on the validity of prior EC which said that lease granted shall not exceed 30 years. The state has proposed validity of EC for mining project maximum of 50 years or up to a period of validity of mining lease in sync with MMDR Act, 1957.
The state government has also submitted a comment on appraisal and EMP report for mining projects of 2 to 5 hectares. General conditions, B2 categories projects and Exemption from public consultation were the other comments submitted by the government to the Government of India.
Syiem highlighted that the draft EIA 2020 seems to be in favour of industries where projects can be taken without clearance and that it was a profit for corporate and that it is anti-people.
Meanwhile, Congress MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh questioned the minister in-charge of Forests & Environment that before submission of state views were there any consultation with civil societies and environmentalist?
Sangma responded that consultation was carried out. “Letters were received from NGOs and we had forwarded these letters to the GoI,” said Sangma. Lyngdoh urged the government to have a consultative programme so that we can come up with a comprehensive submission and plan.