Amidst the reported mushrooming of illegal coke factories in East Jaintia Hills district,
Cabinet minister and Khliehriat legislator Kyrmen Shylla on Wednesday said the state government does not encourage illegalities be it illegal coke factories or illegal coal mining.
“We don’t encourage illegalities and we don’t encourage such illegal coke factories as well. In fact such illegal things should not be allowed as it only brings huge revenue loss to the government’s exchequer,” Shylla told reporters.
His statement came a day after hundreds of people had staged protests against the government’s inaction against the mushrooming of illegal coke factories in East Jaintia Hills district.
There are over 35 illegal coke factories operating in Sutnga Elaka alone.
The protesters had demanded immediate shut down of such factories citing that they pose a serious threat to the health of the people as well as the environment.
On the other hand, Shylla however urged the people to understand that the government’s hands are tight when it comes to coke factories which have been set up as per laid down rules and procedures.
“It will be difficult for the government to stop the operation of coke factories who have valid papers and who have complied with all the environmental norms,” he said.
Shylla, who is holding charge of social welfare, revenue and disaster management departments, however, said that action should be taken not only against the illegal coke factories but against other illegal factories that are operating in the state.
Asked, the Khliehriat MLA admitted that the coke factories should not be allowed to be set up near residential areas.
“There are already clear cut rules in this regard. However, I do not know on what ground they (some of the village authorities) have issued NOC to these illegal factories,” he said.
He said one of the reasons could be that the coke factories never mentioned the proposed sites to such village dorbars while seeking for NOC and that the headmen could have forgotten to ask for such details.