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Govt against operation of illegal coke factories

Shillong, Aug 4: Both the Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong and his cabinet colleague Kyrmen Shylla said the government is against illegal coke factories.

While Tynsong said the government has already directed the deputy commissioners to close down the factories, Shylla said the government does not encourage illegalities be it illegal coke factories or illegal coal mining.

“We don’t encourage illegalities and we don’t encourage such illegal coke factories as well. In fact such illegal things should not be allowed as it only brings huge revenue loss to the government’s exchequer,” Shylla told reporters.

When asked, Tynsong said action has been taken since the government has already instructed concerned authorities to close down the coke factories.

On Tuesday, people protested against the government’s inaction against the mushrooming of illegal coke factories in East Jaintia Hills district.

There are over 35 illegal coke factories operating in Sutnga Elaka.

The protesters had demanded immediate shut down of such factories citing that they pose a serious threat to the health of the people as well as the environment.

However, Shylla said the government’s hands are tight when it comes to coke factories which have been set up legally.

“It will be difficult for the government to stop the operation of coke factories which have valid papers and which have complied with all the environmental norms,” he said.

The Khliehriat MLA admitted that the coke factories should not be allowed to be set up near residential areas.

“There are already clear cut rules in this regard. However, I do not know on what ground the village authorities have issued NOC to these illegal factories,” he said.

He said one of the reasons could be that the coke factories never mentioned the proposed sites to such village dorbars while seeking for NOC and that the headmen may have forgotten to ask for such details.

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