Villagers oppose public hearing on Star Cement’s mine expansion

Khliehriat, Mar 19: The intention of the state government to go ahead with the public hearing at Lumshnong village on Tuesday witnessed many people including school children opposing the proposal by Star Cement to expand its limestone mining from 9 lakh tons to 25 lakh tons.

The public hearing organised by the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board (MSPCB) and East Jaintia Hills district authorities has been opposed by the villagers under the banner of Dorbar Shnong Lumshnong.

The public hearing was being convened to seek public opinion on the proposal by Star Cement to expand its limestone mining from 9 lakh tons to 25 lakh tons.

Lumshnong headman M Ladong and secretary H War while expressing concern over the move by authorities to go ahead with the public hearing also said that they had met East Jaintia Hills Deputy Commissioner, F M Dopth on March 11 seeking cancellation of the proposed public hearing.

“During our meeting with the DC, he has agreed to put the public hearing on hold. But on March 14, the DC called me up and said that the hearing will go ahead as scheduled,” Ladong said.

“The villagers along with the Dorbar Shnong wanted to discuss properly among them about the socio-economic and environmental impacts of the proposed limestone mining project of the cement company,” Ladong said while also stating that the public hearing should not be held inside the premises of Star Cement.

“Even the speakers at the public hearing should be local residents as they know everything about their own village,” the headman said.

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