Public nod to Umngot hydel project

From Our Correspondent

 JOWAI: The proposed Rs 1853 crore power project in Jaintia hills has got the green signal from residents of several villages including Moosakhia, Sohmynting and Samanong under Amlarem Sub-Division who have unanimously voted in favour of commissioning the project.

The public support for the Umngot Hydro Electric Project (three stages of 80 MW each) proposed by the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) came forth during a public hearing on the project conducted by the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board (MSPCB) at Moosakhia village in Jaintia Hills district on Friday.

The public hearing was conducted to elicit the views and opinions of all stakeholders of the project, based on which the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest will decide whether to grant an environmental clearance for the project.

The public hearing was attended by local NGOs, landowners, teachers and headmen of the area.

Most of the people present at the hearing shared their views, opinions, comments and suggestions on the project and urged the Government to start the project at the earliest.

“The project will help the people of the areas particularly in terms of developmental activities such as electricity, roads, schools, hospital and other infrastructures in the area,” villagers observed.

They however cautioned the MeECL against outsourcing the work to private companies and to fulfil its promises regarding environment conservation, compensation for affected land owners and families, maintenance of public health, land management and others.

Friday’s public hearing is only the first step towards acquiring the environmental clearance for the project as approval will also have to be sought from East Khasi Hills district where the project is estimated to affect nine villages and over 139 families.

The Umngot Hydro Electric Project will cover an area of 390 hectares straddling both Jaintia hills and East Khasi Hills districts and will be implemented by the MeECL over a period of five years.