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Youth threatens strike over gross environmental damage

Aizawl, 1 Sept (ZoramNews): The newly formed Youth for Environment Justice-Mizoram (YEJM) on Wednesday urged the state Environment, Forest and Climate Change department to look into the alleged environmental damage by a construction company and take appropriate action. The YEJM also threatened agitation if the government fails to take action within a stipulated time.

Youth threatens strike over gross environmental damage
In a memorandum submitted to the state principal chief conservator of forest on Wednesday, the organisation said that there is still gross violation of environmental laws leading to enormous destruction of environment across the state by National Infrastructure and Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) despite stay orders and show cause notices served to it by the state government. The Centrally owned NHIDCL is currently executing widening or expansion works of various National Highways across Mizoram.

The memorandum said that the state government had in May issued a stay order on the ongoing widening of national highways and directed five divisional forest officers (DFOs) to conduct spot verification in order to ascertain environmental laws violation and evironmental damages on the NHIDC's project sites following a silent protest led by well know activist Vanramchhuangi alias Ruatfela Nu. The DFOs confirmed environmental laws violation by the NHIDCL leading to damage of environment, it said.

The state pollution control board has also served show cause notices to the NHIDCL on three occassions.

"Inspite of all these measures by the state government, the NHIDCL don't take concrete step to dispose soil in proper manner exceptional displaying signboard which read 'spoil bank' on each project sites" the memorandum said.

It further alleged that the state government is also not taking sincere measure to pursue the NHIDCL to ascertain whether or not the construction company is respecting the goverment orders in order to prevent environmental damages.

"We will stage strike if no measures is taken from your end to prevent destruction of environment within a week from the receipt of this representation, " the YEJM's memorandum to the principal chief forest conservator said. The YEJM alleged that the unscrupulous and indiscriminate disposal of soil by NHIDC has led to huge environmental damages across the state.

" The worst affected is the rivers and smaller tributaries which are completely covered by muck and 99.9% of our seasonal and perennial rivers are not visible anymore," the YEJM convener Vanramchhuangi said.

She alleged that the enormous siltation which has destroyed agricultural lands and polluted the state's main water subsistence is a result of disregard and negligence of Environmental laws and regulations by NHIDCL and all governmental stakeholders involved at every level. On July 19, the YEJM and Aizawl City Colleges Joint Student Union had jointly organised rally in Aizawl in protest against the alleged enviromental destructions caused by
the widening of National Highways by the NHIDCL.

Over 2,000 people mostly students took part at the protest rally.

Meanwhile, a state official said that the NHIDCL is trying its best to dispose soil at spoil banks constructed on each project sites. Despite repeated attempts, officials of NHIDCL could not be contacted for comment.

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