Shillong: Following the Meghalaya government’s failure to frame an action plan for the offending coke plants in Elaka Sutnga, East Jaintia Hills District, the Environmental Coordination Committee (ECC) has decided to come up with a nine-point action plan that it will take to the government for implementation.
The National Green Tribunal on July 28, 2022, gave a judgment that the state government will have to take appropriate action to frame an action plan to get rid of the Coke Oven Units established prior to December 23, 2020, to make them compliant with the siting norms laid down.
NGT also directed the government to come up with its implementation within a period of four months.
ECC legal adviser Reading War on Tuesday informed media persons that they have now come up with their suggestions for the government that can be taken up as an action plan.
War said that they waited for two months for the government to come up with an action plan.
“We are shocked to find out that the government hasn’t made any progress in this direction. We cannot wait for four more months,” said War.
The ECC suggests that the action plan should be operational within the period of four months, that is, before November 2022.
Following are some suggestions:
- That all offending Coke Oven Units established prior to December 2020 and have obtained Consent To Operate (CTO), but could not meet the siting norms as provided should be closed down before November 2022.
- If relocation of such Coke Oven Units would be a part of the Action Plan, no coke plants should be granted permission to operate within the Elaka Sutnga or East Jaintia Hills District.
- The Government shall not declare any area or place as an industrial area or commercial area within the Elaka Sutnga under any circumstances.
- No cluster of operation of coke plants should be granted with permission, and all stand-alone units should not be converted into clusters.
- No Coke oven Plant should be granted with permission to operate with Elaka in the near future.
- On the expiry of the time frame given, all offending coke oven units should be given with direction to dismantle and recreate and restore the place and surroundings.
- The environmental compensation which has been imposed to 31 different offending coke units altogether computing up to Rs 5.5 crores must be finalized before November
- The compensation money should be given to the villages affected due to the coke plants to revive the environment and living conditions of these affected villages
War also mentioned that due to the coke plants, two people have lost their lives. He added that the smoke which emits from the coke plants led to the suffocation and death of one elderly person and the other a child.
The ECC has also warned the government that if they fail to implement the action plan, they will be compelled to take matters into their own hands.
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