Shillong: The Environment Coordination Committee (ECC), which has been at the forefront demanding to close down coke plants in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district, has threatened to agitate if the government fails to frame an action plan regarding the offending coke oven units as per the direction of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
A delegation of the ECC submitted a representation to the Chief Minister’s Office pertaining to the action plan meant for coke plants established before December 23, 2020, which is as per the judgement of the NGT in July 2022.
Around 12 coke plants in East Jaintia Hills district obtained consent to operate (CTO) before December 23, 2020.
During the hearing of the petition filed by the ECC of Elaka Sutnga, the NGT had directed the state government to prepare an action plan for these coke plants to make them compliant with the norms laid down in 2020.
“If the government fails to implement the action plan by the November 8 deadline. We will be compelled to take matters into our own hands if the state government failed to implement the action plan,” ECC legal adviser Reading War said.
Stating that the NGT had directed the government to come up with its implementation within a period of four months, War expressed surprise that the government is yet to take any action on the NGT directive.
“We waited two months for the state government to formulate an action plan complying with the NGT judgment before devising a nine-point action plan of its own. It seems like the state government is sleeping since there has been no direction to prepare the action plan,” War alleged.
Demanding that the coke plants should be completely banned, the ECC said, “We are really surprised to see that the government has approved all these disastrous coke plants simply through the single window agency in Khasi and Jaiñtia Hills without any thought and balance for the social cost.”
Two people have lost their lives due to suffocation from the non-stop pollution generated by coke plants in the region.