Upset over the failure of the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) to frame forest clearance norms as directed by the Supreme Court and the resultant delays in road projects, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is planing to take up the matter with the court afresh. The authority’s move comes after it secured a favourable opinion from both the law ministry and the Cabinet secretariat, official sources told FE.

Delays in environmental approvals — usually attributed to the existing policy of linking the same to forest clearances — and procedural issues have affected implementation of national highway projects worth R23,000 crore. This is at a time the Prime Minister’s Office and finance ministry are asking all wings of the government to make concerted efforts to speed up infrastructure projects to accelerate economic growth.

The ongoing eco-restoration programme at Sohra, under which eleven lakh saplings were planted, faces a constant threat from forest fires that are common in the hills of the State.

The saplings were planted in order to preserve the ecology of the Sohra plateau and the six-year-old project sanctioned by the Centre in 2010-11 under special plan assistance at a total cost of Rs 87.16 crore aims at addressing issues like enhancement of soil moisture, identification of critical areas for immediate restoration of degraded soil and tackling water crisis during drier months.

Shillong: The traditional chiefs of Meghalaya have called upon Union Power minister, M Veerappa Moily, to accelerate the process of complete electrification in Meghalaya.

In a memorandum submitted to the Union Power Minister during his visit to the city on Monday, the chairman of the traditional chiefs of Meghalaya, JF Kharshiing, mentioned that introduction of innovative measures and flexibility in the State would help rural land and home owners to generate their own solar/ hydro electricity to be able to sell it back to the grid, as done in many countries today.

Shillong: In a boost to tea production in Meghalaya, three of its plantations and processing units have been certified “organic” by a certified agency of the government of India, official sources said on Monday.

The certification for processing and plantation have been given to Urlong Tea factory in East Khasi Hills district and Nalan Tea industries and government-owned Meg Tea processing unit in Ri-Bhoi district, they said. India Organic which awarded the “organic” certificates to these factories has approved that black tea, CTC tea, green tea and hand-rolled tea from these factories are considered as organic certified.

SHILLONG: MeECL senior official and Chief Project Manager of Myntdu Leshka Project, Elias Lyngdoh on Saturday said majority of the people are not against the proposed 240 MW Umngot Hydro Electric Project even as negotiations are on with the villagers who are apprehensive about the same.

Talking to The Shillong Times, Lyngdoh said, “Only one anti-dam activist is against the project and we can assure that not a single house would be submerged as a result of the project.”

SHILLONG: The proposed 240 MW Umngot Hydro Electric Project has hit a roadblock with local villagers and opposing the project saying that the compensation for their land was grossly inadequate.

Terming the project as anti-people, the residents of several villages (Umsaw, Pashang, Mawsir, Kransngi, Mawdulop and Mynsang) who areas lay in the upper stream of the project have said that their agricultural land would be submerged and they would become landless once the project takes off.

SHILLONG: Residents of nine villages have vowed to oppose the Meghalaya Electric Corporation limited (MeCL) plan to construct a (3 by 80 Megawatt) hydroelectricity power dam along the Umngot river. The outright opposition of the villagers in East Khasi Hills district is due to fear that they will lose all the rich agricultural lands located by the river.

The government held a public hearing to know the minds of the people on the hydroelectricity project on May this year. The concerned authorities at the State and Central levels have not made any decision, but the farmers likely to be affected by the power plant said that they will give a single partition of their land.

SHILLONG: The State Government has taken exception to the delay by Lafarge Umiam Mining Private Ltd (LUMPL) in handing over the proposed land to allow the Government to start the process of compensatory afforestation.

As a penalty for carrying out limestone mining in forest land measuring about 116.589 hectare at Nongtrai Shella in East Khasi Hills district to facilitate supply of limestone to its cement plant located in Bangladesh, the Supreme Court in its ruling on July 6, 2011 had directed LUMPL to pay certain amount to the State Government for compensatory afforestation from April 1, 2007 towards Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA).

SHILLONG: Admitting that the progress of the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) in the State has not been upto the mark, Power Minister AT Mondal said that show cause notices have been given to the concerned contractors for the delay in commissioning of the scheme.

The RGGVY scheme aims at electrifying all villages and habitations besides providing access to electricity to all rural households and also to provide electricity connection to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families free of charge. Under the scheme, 1, 14,507 BPL families will be provided free electricity connection in the state.

Shillong: The KSU Mawryngkneng circle along with the affected farmers have threatened to hit the streets and stage a hunger strike in Shillong following the Government’s failure to pay the compensation to the farmers affected by the construction of the Two Lane Shillong Bye-Pass carried out by GR Infra Company at Mawryngkneng in East Khasi Hills.

Disclosing this, KSU Mawryngkneng president Wallambok Kharsati said on Monday that in a meeting attended by the affected residents of Mawryngkneng last week,