Shillong, April 18 (IANS) The Meghalaya government Thursday promised to take action against cement companies violating forest conservations laws.
"The government is under process to initiate action against cement plants based on the findings of the Joint Inspection Team (JIT)," Forest and Environment Minister Prestone Tynsong said, while replying to a cut motion in the assembly on functioning of the forest department.
He, however, said that the union forest and environment ministry would take a final call on the penalties, including compensatory afforestation which the industrial units would have to compensate as per the provision of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980.
The JIT constituted by the Meghalaya government as per the direction of the Supreme Court has found nine cement plants in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills district are being run on forest land as nearly 50 percent of the surveyed land under the nine plants was classified as forest.
The nine companies are Adhunik Cement, Amrit Cement Industries, Cement Manufacturing Company, Cosmos Cement, Green Valley Industries, Goldstone Cement, Hills Cement, JUD Cements and Meghalaya Cement.
The JIT was constituted in July 2011 and the inspections were carried out between March and June last year.
Informing the assembly that the JIT are still inspecting the remaining forest areas where cement plants are being operated, Tynsong said: "We (government) would have a better picture on the total forest areas where the illegal mining operations by the industrial units are going on once the fresh inspection of the remaining forest areas is completed."