'Nine cement plants in Meghalaya are in forest land'
A Supreme Court probe team has found that nine cement plants in the Meghalaya region are being run on forest land. The report by the Joint Inspection Team (JIT) of the apex court has revealed that almost 50 per cent of the nine surveyed cement plants in the Jaintia Hills district was classified as forest.
The report said that in all, 2,150 hectares were inspected, of which 838 hectares are forest and 1,254 non-forest, with 58 remaining unresolved.
This amount does not account for all cement plant land, however; 1,142 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.