Meghalaya: ECC organise rally against coke factories in Elaka Sutnga; raise concern over their effect on ecology
Raising concerns over the hazards of coke factories in the area, members of the Environment Coordination Committee (ECC) of Elaka Sutnga organised a rally to highlight their detrimental effect on agriculture and water, on Monday.
The rally began from the football ground at Moopala and culminated at the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Elaka.
Speaking to The Northeast Today (TNT) after the rally, the women’s wing advisor of the committee, M War said that initially, East Jaintia Hills had just two factories at Umtyra and Lad Rymbai that were established in non-residential areas in 2007. But today, there are 48 coke factories operating in the area.
“These plants must have the backing of some very powerful people,” said War, adding that the harmful effect of coke factories on agriculture can be gauged by the deteriorating quality of Narwan’s famous oranges. “The oranges from Narwan were known for their quality, but today they have lost the distinction; thanks to the coke factories that have sprung up in the area. The oranges fall down prematurely and have little to no market value," said War.
Raising concerns over the impact of these coke factories on the health of the people residing in the area, Dr Marjan Chyrmang, another member of the ECC, said that long exposure to smoke coming out from the factories leads to diseases such as asthma, tuberculosis, hypertension and cancer among the people.
“The coke factories have been set up in close proximity to each other neglecting the guidelines. The emission from the coke plants is extremely toxic,” he said.
Chyrmang added he is battling several health issues such as headaches, nausea and other health complications due to the coke plants.
Chyrmang also argued that the area is facing an acute scarcity of water due to mining. "People harvest water during the rainy season and we use it for drinking after purifying it. But now, we cannot do that. When it rains, the water is full of soot and is all black,” Chyrmang said, informing that people of the area are buying water at Rs 600 for 2000 litres.
He informed that at present around 10 coke factories in the district have obtained Consent to Operate (CTO) and around two have obtained Consent to Establish (CTE). “The rest have been set up without obtaining CTE or CTO,” he concluded.
(Edited by Shankar Kumar Turha)
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