SHILLONG: The Meghalaya high court, on Thursday, has ordered a halt to further constructions near the Umiam Lake before strict norms for such construction and treatment of effluence are put in place.

A division bench comprising of Meghalaya high court chief justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Wanlura Diengdoh said that no further construction would be allowed at least within 1000m from the Highest Flood Level (HFL) of the Umiam Lake after several outlets cropped up over the years up to a distance of about 300m from the HFL.

“No future construction in or around the Umiam Lake, at least within 1000m from the HFL, will be allowed before strict norms for such construction and treatment of effluence are put in place, after leaving a no-construction buffer zone of about 500m from the HFL, by the appropriate authorities,” the Meghalaya high court said.

It added: “Both the state and the district council should ensure compliance with such direction.”

A joint inspection was conducted by the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) along with the Meghalaya state pollution control board and it was revealed that seven establishments constructed buildings within 300m of the HFL of the Umiam Lake.

Several other buildings are also under construction.

“In some cases, permissions have also been obtained from the State Pollution Control Board, but it does not appear that there may have been any law in force pertaining to the extent of the construction, the nature of construction or any limitations or regulation in such regard,” the KHADC informed the Meghalaya high court.

However, Meghalaya high court ruled that even if an establishment is found to have made the construction with some form of permission, “strict conditions need to be imposed” to ensure that the cleanliness of the water below or the aesthetics of the surroundings are not adversely affected.

“It does not appear that there may have been any law in force pertaining to the extent of the construction, the nature of construction or any limitations or regulation in such regard,” the Meghalaya high court observed.

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