Illegal limestone mining in Jaintia Hills
From Our Correspondent
JOWAI: Concerned over an impending water crisis in Nongtalang area under Amlarem Sub-division in Jaintia Hills, owing to large-scale and unscientific limestone mining in the surrounding areas, local village heads along with an environment activist have shot off a letter to Union Minister of Environment and Forests, Ms Jayanthi Natarajan, seeking her intervention into the matter.
The letter written by the heads of Banan Locality in Nongtalang village including its chairman, S Lyngdoh, and secretary, B Myrchiang, along with environment activist, HH Mohrmen, expressed concern over the unscientific limestone mining in War-Jaintia area in Jaintia Hills which is now beginning to take its toll on local water bodies because of which the residents of Nongtalang and its surrounding villages are facing an impending water scarcity.
“All the thick green forest cover has been uprooted by heavy mining machineries such as Earth Movers,” the complaint stated, adding that the miners are also using explosives in the area which is a threat to the passers-by particularly farmers, who work in the vicinity of the mining areas.
The complaint also alleged that despite repeated complaints made to the Sub-Divisional Officer, Amlarem Civil Sub-division, no result has been forthcoming.
“Due to limestone mining our water sources have been polluted thereby putting our survival at high risk. Our drinking water supply has changed its colour as it has become muddy and unfit for any use,” the complaint stated.
“Some of our water sources that are under threat are Am Dap, Am Keajing, Am Soh Mahaleng, Am Daloi, Wah Latyrngui, Am Khlew, Am Tren, Am Tuma, Wah Amdohkha and Amlymphung, Am hynshyai duwar, Am Kru, Am khruk,” the letter added.
The complainants also informed that limestone mines are being operating without any forest clearance under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, which prohibits non-forest activities like mining in forest area.
The complaint further stated that the said mining activities are in direct violation of the order passed by the Supreme Court since no environmental clearance at any level has been sought or obtained by the mine owners/ operators.
“In light of these serious violations we wish to see that you judiciously put a stop to the illegal limestone mines here until and unless the highest level of mining practices and adherence of the strictest environmental norms are followed,” the complaint stated.