Choking amid coking: Meghalaya coke factories leave no room to breathe

Shillong: Meghalaya minister in-charge of forest and environment James Sangma on Thursday said the recently-formed Expert Technical Committee to study coke factories in the state has had its first meeting two days back.

Sangma said the process has begun but said we have to wait for the committee to first study the terms of references and conduct a study before giving any necessary findings.

Asked about a recent RTI findings claimed by the Environment Coordination Committee (ECC) from Elaka Sutnga that the plants are producing more than 25,000 MT of coke, the environment minister denied the claims.

“I am not aware of any RTI findings which would indicate that these coke plants have surpassed their load capacity. As far as the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board (MSPCB) is concerned, they have been very clear that these plants that have been given permission, those are inspected and oven load is ascertained and based on that only permissions are granted,” stated Sangma.

The minister also asserted that the committee will look into the health aspects of the people of the area and suggest necessary measures.

He added that the committee isn’t aware of this finding but will look into it.

It may be mentioned that amid vehement opposition to the coke factories, the state government has formed the expert committee headed by BK Lyngwa, chairman of the state pollution control board.

The committee will undertake a comprehensive environment and public health related study related to the coke plants and impact of such plants on the general environment in their vicinity.

The committee will also study all relevant documents required by the single window agency for approval and suggest additional measures, if any, for streamlining the single window clearance including quality and source of raw materials for the plants.

In addition, the committee shall undertake study of the “Cluster” situation arising out of the location of coke plants and suggest measures to combat and neutralise/minimise the impact on the environment.

It may be mentioned that the ECC of Elaka Sutnga has expressed concerns over the mushrooming of illegal coke factories in East Jaintia Hills.

Also read: Adani Group takes over operations at Guwahati international airport


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