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NCP demands closure of illegal cement units

Opposition NCP on Friday demanded the government should stop all cement plants operating illegally in Jaintia Hills district.



Shillong: Opposition NCP on Friday demanded the government should stop all cement plants operating illegally in Jaintia Hills district beside a compensation in
line with which Supreme Court had imposed on Lafarge Umiam Pvt Ltd.

The demand came in the wake of the findings of the High Power Committee of Meghalaya government which submitted its report in the late hours last year.
"We demand the government to close down all cement companies in operation in Jaintia Hills district. We also demand these companies to compensate the state government on the loss of forest covers and land in line with Supreme Court
order on Lafarge which is mining limestone in Shella in East Khasi Hills for afforestation and development of local area," Opposition Leader Conrad K Sangma told reporters here.

The HPC, headed by JP Prakash had, in its report to the state government confirmed there were ample evidence to indicate that the cement plants have been set up in forest areas.

Terming the revelation of the HPC as a "massive scam", Conrad called for an immediate closure of all cement plants adding that compensation due from these companies could run beyond Rs 2000 crores.

There are 8 private companies producing cement at present operating in Jaintia Hills while there are a couple more that have applied for necessary permissions from the state government.

Earlier, the Youth Wing of the party had demanded for an independent inquiry into the alleged violation Forest Conservation Act 1980 by several cement factories that have come up in the last 15 years in Jaintia Hills district.

An preliminary inspection conducted by the district unit of the party indicated that companies situated within the Narpuh reserve forest do not have necessary clearance from the MoEF, the party youths had said.

A memorandum was submitted to the additional chief secretary of Forest and Environment with a note that these factories is causing "rampant" destruction of forest and environment.

PTI

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