We oppose the Environmental Clearance granted to M/s Star Cement Meghalaya Ltd for Mining

We oppose the Environmental Clearance granted to M/s Star Cement Meghalaya Ltd for Mining

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Kwilnis Suchiang started this petition to ministry of forest and

To,

                        Prakash Javadekar,
                        Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

Respected Sir,

                        I hope this letter finds you well, the Khasi Students' Union Narpuh Circle would like to bring to your notice the recently granted Environmental Clearance by the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change to M/s Star Cement Meghalaya Ltd for the Mining Lease of Limestone & Shale in 42.051 Ha of land at Brishyrnot, East Jaintia Hills District, Meghalaya dated 8th June, 2021 F.No.J-11015/17/2019-IA.II(M) without any Public Consultation or Public Hearing.

The Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board (MSPCB) had already attempted to hold a public hearing/public consultation for the above-mentioned project three times but was called off due to stiff opposition from the local population, village authorities, and local NGOs due to the fact that large-scale mining would severely impact the climate and environment and the local area has been substantially hampered by the widespread mining and industrialization in the said area.

The residents of Elaka Narpuh, along with various NGOs, have firmly rejected the Star Cement Public Hearing not once, but three times consecutively, on the grounds that it will harm the environment, animals, and the human race, in reality polluting the already polluted environment of Elaka Narpuh.

We highly object the district administration for providing a leeway to the company through Para 7 (i) Stage (3) – Public Consultation, Clause (v) of the Notification, 2006, as there is a clear refusal from the majority of stakeholders to not allow the aforementioned industry to contaminate the Elaka Narpuh ecosystem, the Narpuh Wildlife Sanctuary, and its surroundings.

We hereby object the aforementioned clearance as there was no Public Notice issued by the District Administration of East Jaintia Hills district for the written consultation, and we also demand an immediate action into this matter as we were surprised to see the 280 names in support written statement which is in favor of supporting the M/s Star Cement Meghalaya Ltd along with some unknown NGOs on the list without any proper names or details of their President/Secretary, and even their existence is highly questionable and this is clearly an attempt to forestall the majority stake holders to be informed about the public consultation process.

The following are the key reasons that the Union vehemently opposed the issued Environmental Clearance for Limestone & Shale Mining of the said company in Brishyrnot:

1. If the aforementioned company begins its mining project, it will drastically impact on at least 15 villages in the surrounding areas, either directly or indirectly and the collateral damage of rehabilitation and people's livelihood will occur at a massive scale.

2. Despite the massive protests from the majority of the local population and NGOs, the district administration and the state pollution control board have made several rounds of attempts to hold a public hearing. In fact, the most recent public hearing was held at the district headquarter, which is 25 kilometers away from the mining lease area, and this clearly demonstrates the hidden objectives of the East Jaiñtia Hills District Administration and the State Pollution Control Board's intention.

3. It is also important to note and inform the general public of the state and the country that the mentioned mining site is only 0.25 km from Narpuh Wildlife Sanctuary's Eco-sensitive Zone (ESZ) and only 1.46 km from Narpuh Wildlife Sanctuary and this will directly have a threat to the ecosystem, to the lives and habitat of its famous flora and fauna, to the homes of our State Animal, the Clouded Leopard (which is an Endangered Species having only 10,000 left in the world) including the Great Pied Hornbill (Nearly Threatened), the Indian Rock Python (Nearly Threatened), the Himalayan Serow (Vulnerable), the Leopard Cat, Pangolin, Sloth Bear (Vulnerable), Slow Loris, Western Hoolock Gibbon (Endangered), Assam Bamboo Patridge etc.

4. The Elaka Narpuh and Narpuh Wildlife Sanctuary are home to a diverse range of vegetation, birds, reptiles, and other animals, water bodies that collect rainwater and recharge the water table for many adjacent portions of the village. Thus, providing clearance to such large-scale mining activities will be detrimental and can further pollute the groundwater and drinking water that is available in the said area.

5. The Um-Lunar river (adjacent to the Eastern boundary), Umso Nallah (adjacent to the Northern River), and Lukha river (located only 1.3 km in SE direction from the mine lease area) are the three rivers most likely to be polluted if mining begins, particularly the Lukha river, which is already polluted due to high acidity in the river (which has resulted in turning blue colour because of the chemical effluent and the death of thousands of fish in the river).


6. The waste that will be generated during the mining operation will surely have a significant impact on contaminating the environment and all local rivers. It will increase air pollution in the area, and if the waste is exposed to the three rivers mentioned above, it will harm the rivers which is the main source of livelihood of the people.

Therefore, we vehemently opposed and strongly condemn the recently granted Environmental Clearance and we urge your esteemed office to intervene and revoke the Environmental Clearance given to M/s Star Cement Meghalaya Limited in the interest of the livelihood and betterment of our people and the environment.

We are looking forward to your swift action on this urgent matter.


Thanking you in anticipation,

 

Yours sincerely, 

Kwilnis Suchiang
President, Khasi Students' Union
Narpuh Circle.
Elaka Narpuh,
East Jaintia Hills District.

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