Shillong, Feb 23: Civil Society Women Organisation (CSWO) president Agnes Kharshiing has written to the State Chief Secretary, M. S. Rao to initiate investigation and closure of coke factories in West Khasi Hills District and in East Jaintia Hills District.
“The crops are to be tested by experts, and the factories running illegally in these areas of Shallang, and East Jaintia Hills district should be immediately closed down,” Kharshiing said.
In the letter to the Chief Secretary, Kharshiing said that the people staying in Nongdaju, Shallang areas near the coke factories in Shallang, West Khasi Hills are being affected daily from the pollution and it is also affecting their crops.
The CSWO president also said that on a visit to a coke factory, there was no signboard or name plate and found it had about 32 furnaces and labourers were all from Assam.
They were also told that there were about 30 more such factories mushrooming.
The CSWO in the letter to the Chief Secretary also said that the people around in these areas were complaining of the affect in health and cultivation is also being affected and they could not get good crop.
“On the other hand we appreciate and read that Government has passed The Meghalaya Farmers (Empowerment) Commission Act 2019 including declaring December 4, 2020 as Farmers Day. However the wonton destruction of the state by continued mining, setting up of polluting industries are contradicting the very objectives of the Farmers interest who comprise around 70% of the population in the State,” Kharshiing said.
Moreover, the CSWO president in the letter to the Chief Secretary also informed that a resident from Nongdaju village in West Khasi Hills District, informed that illegal coal mining is rampant in Shallang area, even as she alleged of political patronage.
“It is absolutely clear that these illegalities happen with open support from law enforcement agencies who are again complying to political pressure,” she alleged.
Kharshiing in the letter to the Chief Secretary also said that the illegal coke factories operating openly was a cover up for the illegal coal mining activities in Meghalaya.
She also informed that coke factories in East Jaintia Hills too were affecting the health of the people around.