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Nine Meghalaya cement plant sites investigated in conjunction with Forest Conservation act

World Cement,

Nine cement plants in the Meghalaya region of India are being run on forest land, according to an Indian Supreme Court inspection team report. The Joint Inspection Team (JIT) has revealed that almost 50% of the nine surveyed cement plants in the Jaintia Hills district was classified as forest.

In all, 2150 hectares were inspected, of which 838 hectares are forest and 1254 non-forest, with 58 remaining unresolved. This amount does not account for all cement plant land, however; 1142 hectares were not surveyed at all during these inspections, carried out between March and June 2012.

The JIT was formed in July 2011 and comprised chief forest conservators, officials of the state’s forest and environment department, revenue departments, district administration, police force and members of Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council.

The report has called for further independent surveys to be carried out in order to assess the mining areas belonging to each plant, as many of these have been found, at first glance, to be larger in than specified by their lease grants.

Another key finding of the report was that most of these nine plants were approaching the end of their construction and were changing the face of the land to such an extent that all evidence of its past was in danger of being permanently lost.

The report follows recent requests from the opposition congress party for the ruling congress to shut down cement plants operating in forest areas in violation of the Forest Conservation Act. Depending on the results of further independent surveys that should soon begin, this could spell bad news for any plants in the state not observing strict environmental protocols.

Edited from various sources by Jack Davidson.

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