Shillong, Mar 8: Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Monday said that coke factories which are operating illegally in the State without permission from the government have been closed down.
“We detected 21 coke factories out of which four are legal, and 17 are illegal. All the illegal coke factories have been issued a closure notice on August 15, 2020,” Sangma told the Assembly in the course of the Question Hour.
Furthermore, the Chief Minister also informed that a joint inspection was carried out on January 15 by the concerned authorities and found that illegal coke factories were operating in West Khasi Hills district.
“Out of the 17 illegal coke factories, 10 received single-window clearances and are awaiting Consent to Establish (CTE) and Consent to Operate (CTO) under the Air & Water Act,” he said, adding that trials are on in the District Court against the illegal coke factories in Shallang, West Khasi Hills.
Replying to a query on the source of coal that is being burnt in these coke factories, Sangma said that with proper clearances from Single Window Agency and the Pollution Control Board, the legal factories can get the coal from anywhere in the country be it from Assam coalfields of West Bengal with valid documents.
On coke factories falling under the “red category”, the Chief Minister said, “Coke factories indeed fall under the red category, but we need to go ahead with industrialisation, and we must do the same as per norms. It is all about balancing economy and ecology.”
Moreover, he said there are certain norms set by the Air and Water Act that the government must adhere to while granting permission for setting up of industries falling under the ‘red category’.
“Coke factories indeed fall under the red category, but we need to go ahead with industrialisation, and we must do the same as per norms. It is all about balancing economy and ecology,” Sangma said.