Burning Issue October 2010

October 21, 2010 at 11:22 am (Uncategorized)

JHADC, coal storage drainage slowly killing Mynkajai
Written by the Editor
Thursday, 28 October 2010 05:04

Meghalaya Times

Staff Reporter

Jowai, Oct. 27:
Jaintia Hills has been hitting the limelight often for the past few years for reasons mainly relating to the environment which has been degrading thanks to rampant unscientific mining and the setting up of various industries here.

The district has become known for its dead rivers including the Kwai, Lukha and Lunar mainly due to unscientific coal mining.

Now, another river is on the way to making it into the dead list – the Mynkajai, which flows along the National Highway-40 (E), Jowai-Amlarem-Dawki road.

The river’s source is Khapmoosakhia, Samyntin, and acts as a lifeline for the people of the area.

However, the cause for the dying of Mynkajai is different. While the other rivers in the district have died due to coal mining drainage, Mynkajai has become a victim of coal storage drainage. Coal is stored at Lad Mustem.

“We cannot use the water from the river anymore because it is ‘coal water’. It has no more use for us,” said K. Lipon from Pynthor while harvesting his crop at Madan Lane, a valley through which the river flows.

“The river is of no use as water from Lad Mustem flows here,” he said.

It is learnt that though the river is still being used to irrigate paddy fields at Pynthor Langtein, just few hundred metres away, the rusty drains running from the coal storage at Lad Mustem lead to the Mynkajai with the water unfit for the farmers at Madan Lane which is again just a few hundred metres away from where the drains meet the river.

To add to its woes, the river has also become the garbage dump of the JHADC. The garbage site overlooks the river and the only thing that separates the waste from Mynkajai is a wall.

The garbage comprises waste collected by the JHADC and the Jowai Municipal Board from different areas of Jowai.

“The waste is collected and stored within the box frame (wall) and is then burnt and disposed off,” said a staff of the Jowai Municipal Board, who was found unloading garbage from a truck in the area.

However, what is interesting is that metres away and downstream of the river, waste material like plastic, cloths, bags and others is found scattered along the banks and entangled with the roots and branches of plants.

“As for now, the dumping ground is not good enough, we have to improve it,” said Executive Member, JHADC, I/C Market, D. Nongpluh.

Children too appear to have become aware of the impact of coal storage. “Right from upstream, the river has no more fish in it because of the coal,” said a street child found in the garbage dumping ground of the council.

It is to be noted that if dumping of coal poses a danger to water bodies, what will be the fate of the Mynngot river which will be the source of water for the Public Health Engineering Department’s Renovation of the Jowai Water Supply Scheme with the present trend of storing coal along the National Highway NH 44 in areas like Ummulong and Mookyndur through which the river flows.

The Shillong Times

21-10-10

HC stay order on coal mining in Jaintia Hills village

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: In a judgment that could have far-reaching implications on coal and limestone mining in Meghalaya, the Shillong Bench of the Gauhati High Court recently decided to extend the stay order which prohibits coal mining activities in Diemshalalu village under Rymbai Elaka in Jaintia Hills district.

While hearing the petition filed by the Diemshalalu village dorbar questioning the illegal mining activities within the residential areas of the village on October 18 last, Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court Madan Bhimarao Lokur issued this order after the Government and the private parties, Diwi Lyngdoh and Beautiful Dkhar who are the respondents in this case, had sought more time to file their replies.

It may be reminded that the Chief Justice had earlier issued the stay order in this connection with this case on October 12 last.

The village had first reported the matter to the Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) who is also the SDO of Khliehriat and the police on the illegal mining activities in the village.

Initially, by an order issued on July 29 last, the ADC had stopped mining activities in the village.

In another order issued on September 23 last, the ADC again allowed resumption of mining activities on the plea that other people are allowed to carry out mining activities in and around the villages and hence Diwi Lyngdoh and Beautiful Dkhar should not be singled out and prevented from mining.

Meanwhile the villagers challenged the findings of the ADC that other people are allowed to carry out mining activities in the village, which they said was factually incorrect.

Challenging this order of the ADC, the village dorbar decided to file a writ petition before the Gauhati High Court.

In the writ petition, the village dorbar stated that use of explosives and unscientific mining is posing a threat to the life and property of the villagers. The village dorbar had also questioned whether miners can use explosives with explosive license being granted by the district magistrate.

The village dorbar has also questioned whether mining can be resorted to without the mandatory notice to the District Magistrate as well as license being granted under provision of the Mines Act, 1952 and Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.

When contacted, SS Dey, the counsel of the petitioner, said the final order issued by the court will have wide ramifications in the State considering the prevailing illegal mining activities in Jaintia Hills and other parts of the State.

Meghalaya Times

Mining destroying tourist spots, cultivable land
Written by the Editor
Wednesday, 13 October 2010 20:01

Sajeki Passah
Jowai, September 26: Driving along the Jowai-Amlarem-Dawki road, NH 40
E, one feels a sense of familiarity on reaching Thlumuwi. Towards the
left is the historical site, the Stone Bridge of the Jaintia Kings, of
the erstwhile Jaintia kingdom and on the right hand lies nature’s
gift, tourist spot the Tlumuwi Falls.
There has been extensive publicity to promote the two spots. They were
on the state government’s calendar, on the state Tourism Department’s
website and in booklets.
The Stone Bridge that stands across the Thlumuwi River is made up of
stone slabs measuring around five metres in length, 0.5 metres in
thickness and around 1.5 metres in width.
It may be recalled that one stone slab of the bridge was broken, but
was rebuilt. The footpath to the falls was constructed under the DRDA
scheme, conceived by former deputy commissioner of Jaintia Hills, FR.
Kharkongor.
However, a visit to the spot, on the left hand side of the road
leading from the Stone Bridge, saw heaps of coal waiting to be loaded
onto trucks. On the other side, women can be seen working on their
paddy fields.
The area has been witnessing mining of coal in the past few decades.
“I can’t recall when mining was started here, it has been quite a long
time now,” said a villager of the area, P Tariang.
The historical site is surrounded by vestiges of paddy fields.
However, says K Surong, from Chkentalang who ferries coal on his truck
from the site: “Now we don’t grow rice, the land is totally infertile
due to mining of coal.”
Around 50 metres beside the bridge, hidden among the bushes, is a bore
measuring around 10 by 10 feet wide. The bore is only an abandoned
coal mine. Some villagers say it is deep, but how deep is uncertain,
as it is filled with water.
This is not an isolated case. There are numerous such abandoned mines
in and around the area which pose a grave danger to tourists and to
locals unfamiliar with the place.
“Now there is not a single fish in the river because the water is coal
water flowing from Mypyut, Moosakhia and other areas where coal is
mined,” added Surong.
In contrast, on the opposite side of the road, tadpoles and
fingerlings can be found in a streamlet flowing into the Thlumuwi
River from the green paddy fields.
With the government’s inaction ‘in action’, is the State Mining Policy
too late to protect the area and the district as a whole?

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