Shillong(Meghalaya), Sep 19: Social activist Balkarin Ch. Marak has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the High Court of Meghalaya against illegal stone extraction in areas falling under Garo Hills.
Marak who is also the co – chairman of the Garoland State Movement Committee (GSMC) pointed out that the Court had already initiated a Suo Motu Case vide PIL No. 7 of 2019 based on the note dated 31.05.2019 submitted by Deputy Registrar, Anindita Y. Sarki, with regards to unscientific extraction of stones in the areas around Cherrapunjee and Dawki falling within the State of Meghalaya, and as result of such extraction, the green cover in the state is getting eroded.
In this backdrop, he urged the Court to expand the scope of the PIL to be further expanded to the entire Garo Hills region where he said that unscientific extraction of stones and illegal quarrying and transportation of stone has been going on for many years and continues till date.
He also said that these activities which are being carried out in an unscientific manner are degrading the environment in Garo Hills.
Pointing out that stones are being transported to Bangladesh, Marak said that activities thereof are leading to the drying up of streams, ponds and waterfalls which in turn in resulting in a climate change.
Marak also informed the Court that a RTI filed by him at the office of the Forests and Environment department in West and South Garo Hills (Territorial Division, Tura) has revealed that permission has been given for unscientific stone extraction and transportation of stone from Garo Hills to Bangladesh.
With the Divisional Forest Officer, Tura granting permission for these activities, Marak is holding the state government responsible for environmental degradation.
Marak also said that hundreds of truck – loads of stone is being transported to Bangladesh on a daily basis while expressing concern over the increasing quarrying activities that is being seen.
Arguing that stone quarrying interrupts the continuity of open space, ruins habitats for flora and fauna, damages caves, results in landslides, loss of land, soil erosion, air and water pollution and changes the waterways while deteriorating in water quality, Marak has pleaded with the Court to act on the matter.
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