Friday, October 01, 2010

NGO slams charcoal trade

A Shillong-based NGO today revealed largescale irregularities in the functioning of charcoal-based industries in Meghalaya, which use charcoal produced by burning illegally felled trees, violating the Supreme Court order banning felling. The government also incurs loss of revenue by granting permission to such ferro-alloy units, which enjoy huge financial subsidies. Maitshaphrang, the NGO, alleged that these industries employ a negligible number of local people, going against the government policy that calls for 60 per cent employment of locals in industries set up in the state. Maitshaphrang convenor Michael Syiem, along with other NGOs, revealed that the
state government was giving subsidies to as many as 11 charcoal-based industries in Ri-Bhoi district without any profit. The NGOs obtained this information through a Right to Information petition. The RTI findings indicate that in West Khasi Hills, Ri-Bhoi and Jaintia Hills, forest cover is fast denuding due to rampant felling. This has also affected the ecology of Nongknum, a river island, Syiem said.

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