Opposition Congress MP from Shillong Vincent H Pala on Thursday alleged that the state government is supporting the Star Cement for expansion of its limestone mining project at Brishyrnot in East Jaintia Hills district.
“The Star Cement is not a new factory and is trying to expand its capacity…so I think the state government already supported the Star Cement for the last 10 years and it definitely will support it as that is why they have conducted the public hearing,” Pala told reporters.
His statement came as a reaction to the recent decision of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to grant the environmental clearance to the expansion project of the Star Cement.
Pala recalled that the public hearings held three times had to be cancelled due to stiff opposition from members of the public including NGOs.
He said during the last public hearing there was lots of stone pelting and some of the police were also injured.
Stating that the public hearing should not have been violent, the MP said people should come and express their views in support or against the project but due to such violence people who wanted to support and also those who wanted to oppose were not given a chance to express their views.
Pala further informed that he also called up the officials of the Ministry in Delhi to seek clarification on the decision of the ministry.
“They (officials of the Ministry) said the majority of the people have given in writing that they supported the project since they could not express their views (during the public hearing).
I had a talk with the officials in Delhi and they said because of that reason, they gave the clearance (to the Star Cement),” he said.
On the other hand, the MP said that the Star Cement has invested not less than Rs 2,000 crore for the project. “I don’t think they would have invested such a huge amount without getting all necessary clearances,” he stated.