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HC directive to Govt on land acquired by cement plants

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: The Gauhati High Court has asked the Meghalaya Government to strictly implement the directives of the Ministry of Environment & Forest pertaining to the violation of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 by cement companies located in Jaintia hills.

The Court also directed the State Government to undertake a joint inspection of the remaining 1,140 hectares of land acquired or under the process of acquisition by the said cement companies to ascertain the status of forests and to submit the report within three months.

The court’s directive came following a writ petition filed by the Jaintia Youth Federation (JYF) against eight cement plants in Jaintia hills for setting up their plants in forest land.

Talking to newsmen here on Tuesday, JYF president Poipynhun Majaw informed that the court has ordered the government to request the Forest Survey of India (FSI), Dehradun to furnish their opinion on the status of forest in 57.56 hectares of land acquired by Meghalaya Cement Ltd (Star Cement) the status of which could not be ascertained after a joint inspection conducted by the State Government.

“The order further directed the government to ensure that no non-forest activity is undertaken in the land, which after joint inspection has already been certified as ‘forest’, till approval of Central Government under the Forest Conservation Act is obtained,” he added. The next hearing on the case is scheduled on May 3.

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