Topcem Cement, which campaigns for ‘Build Green’, has failed in its ‘Environmental Compliance’, and has raised serious questions on the safety of the fragile ecosystem in East Jaintia Hills district in Meghalaya.
A visit to the website of Topcem Cement (topcem.in) is a clear indicator that the cement company, which claims to be the ‘Best in the Northeast’, is definitely not doing enough in its ‘Environmental Compliance’ front.
Meghalaya Cements Limited has its integrated cement plant at Thangskai in East Jaintia Hill district in Meghalaya.
It produces about 4,600 tons of cement daily, and also owns a coal-based 10 MW Captive Power Plant.
Surprisingly, the Topcem Cement management did not upload its ‘Environmental Compliance Statement’ on the website, which is a ‘mandatory obedience’ as per the MOEF&CC guidelines.
The last Environmental Clearance Compliance Statement was uploaded by Topcem Cement was for the period April to September 2019, and was compiled by ABC Techno Labs India Pvt Ltd, which is based at Ambattur in Tamil Nadu.
Aveek Saha, General Manager (East) of ABC Techno Labs India Pvt Ltd, when contacted, said, they are waiting for the lab analysis reports, and will compile the ‘compliance statement’ soon after that.
The management of Topcem Cement failed to publish Stack Emission Monitoring Results after September 2020.
Similarly, the Ambient Air Quality Monitoring results were also not published after the month of September.
And the cause of serious concern is that Topcem Cement management did not publish the Upstream and Downstream Water Analysis report of its South Khliehjri Limestone mine after September.
Despite repeated attempts, Kailash Lohia, who is chairman of Topcem Cement, was not available for comments.
Anil Kapur, president of Topcem Cement said he doesn’t know anything about the company’s failure to upload the Environmental Clearance Compliance Statement after September 2019.
“I don’t know anything about it. Please speak to our production team at the Cement Plant. They will be able to tell you about it,” Kapur said.
Cement companies in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia hills district are often caught flouting norms of the MOEF&CC and have been causing damage to the fragile ecology of East Jaintia Hills district.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had imposed a penalty of Rs 400 per tonne of illegally-mines coal used by the cement firms and their power subsidiaries.
The Meghalaya government has asked the cement companies to pay Rs 614 crore for using illegally-mined coal and evading tax.
The NGT had asked the Meghalaya government to deposit the extracted money for “using illegally-mined coal” in the Meghalaya Environment Protection and Restoration Fund.
The NGT in April 2014 had banned hazardous rat-hole coal mining in Meghalaya. And the NGT said the cement companies had purchased the illegally-mined coal in the name of slate, a non-fuel mineral.
The NGT had also asked the Meghalaya government, MOEF&CC and the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board to initiate legal action against the cement firms.