HITO writes to Assembly Committee on ‘illegal’ coke factories

HITO writes to Assembly Committee on ‘illegal’ coke factories

Shillong, Jun 25: The Hynniewtrep Indigenous Territorial Organisation (HITO) has petitioned the Assembly Committee on Environment regarding the illegal coke factories situated at East Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya.

In the letter to S. K. Sunn Chairman of the Assembly Committee, the organisation stated that there are about 25 Coke factories in active operation daily in the East Jaintia Hills district.

“We are more shocked to learn that most of these factories are running without obtaining prior permission from the concerned authority violating the environmental norms and procedures threatening the environment and ecology of the area at large,” the HITO stated in its letter.

The organisation also alleged that these factories have bypassed the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council authorities by indicating that they have obtained clearances from the Single Window Agency of the state government.

It also stated that when all business establishments were asked to shut down during this pandemic, surprisingly all these coke factories continued to function as usual putting workers and residents at risk.

“It is a known fact that these coke factories run on coal. We are also aware that coal mining and transportation has been banned across the state pending proper permission following adherence to environmental laws and workers safety. If this is the case, aren’t these factories promoting illegal and unsafe extraction of coal? Who authorised transportation of coal feeding these factories?” the HITO asked.

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MeECL rebuffs reports of low generation and losses

MeECL rebuffs reports of low generation and losses

Shillong, Jun 25: The Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) on Friday rebutted “repeated reports” that it was generating only 60 MW and incurring losses of Rs 50 crore due to mismanagement in generation.

According to the Chief Managing Director (CMD), MeECL, Arun Kumar Khembavi the Corporation owns hydro power plants only and generation of power was dependent on the rainfall and the water levels.

“It is a common knowledge that this year till now Meghalaya has experienced not only delayed monsoon but lesser rainfall as compared to the past. Not just MeECL, even NEEPCO hydro plants in the northeast are suffering because of deficit monsoon. Out of total allocation of 147 MW, NEEPCO is supplying an average of 90 MW to Meghalaya daily,” he pointed out.

“However, because of better planning and strategy, MeECL has generated an average of 150 MW (approx) from state owned plants in the month of June 2021 and has sold almost 19.5 million units of energy after ensuring 24 hours supply throughout the state. In fact, the Myntdu Leshka project itself has been clocking the full capacity of 126 MW when the rainfall in the catchment area is good. Sometimes the MePGCL generation has been kept intentionally low to manage the water level at reservoirs when the market rate or the sale price is not that lucrative,” the CMD said.

“If we compare the generation from past years, it is observed that in the past also the generation in the month of June was almost same except in the year 2020. In 2020 Meghalaya received exceptionally good rainfall. While the Northeast is experiencing weak monsoon, Bihar has had 176 percent above normal rainfall this year indicating signs of climate change,” he said.

“It may also be appreciated that MeECL is generating optimal power with a strategy to maximise the revenue for the Corporation. This is evident from the fact that when the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) average rate for the month of June 2021 is just Rs. 2.95 per unit, MePDCL sold its surplus power at an average rate of Rs. 3.34 per unit which shows scientific planning and efficient energy management. Whereas in the past MeECL has sold surplus power for as low as 10 paise per unit,” he said.

“Hence the reports are baseless and bereft of any facts,” the CMD maintained.

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Meghalaya govt eases restriction, 15 percent of commercial vehicles to ply in Shillong from June 28

Meghalaya govt eases restriction, 15 percent of commercial vehicles to ply in Shillong from June 28

Shillong, Jun 25: Even though the state is still witnessing a high rate of Covid-19 infection the Government on Friday decided to ease restriction for plying of commercial vehicles in Shillong and rural areas from June 28.

“We have decided to allow 15 per cent of local taxis and auto rickshaws in Shillong, to operate in Shillong and 30 percent in the rural areas of the State from Monday (June 28),” Health and Family Welfare Minister Alexander Laloo told reporters.

He however said taxi operators would have to display their vaccination certificates on their vehicles so that the public can make informed choices.

Restaurants and hotels will be allowed to open only for home delivery and takeaways, the Health Minister said, adding that tea-shops in the rural areas are allowed to open, but customers will have to sit outside the tea-shops.

Meanwhile, the rising trend of COVID-19 infection continued with 602 fresh cases adding up to 4,665 active cases and seven deaths increasing the fatality figure to 814, even as 354 more recoveries took the number of recovered cases up to 42, 001 on Friday in the state, which has so far registered 47, 480 confirmed cases.

“The COVID-19 related deaths recorded today were three in West Jaintia Hills district, two in East Khasi Hills district and one each in East Garo Hills district and West Khasi Hills district,” War informed.

He said East Khasi Hills district had 1,403 active COVID-19 cases followed by Ri-Bhoi district with 670 cases, West Jaintia Hills district with 640 cases and West Garo Hills district with 630 cases, with the remaining eight districts having less than 300 active cases each.

On the other hand, 30, 613 health care workers received the first dose of the vaccine against COVID-19 and 19, 828 received the second dose, 96, 062 front-line workers got the first jab and 26, 935 got the second shot, 43, 8154 persons from among the general public were inoculated with the first dose and 29, 181 were fully vaccinated with the second dose across the state as on Friday.

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