The Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board conducted the public hearing for Meghalaya Cements’ planned expansion of its Meghalaya cement plant on 24 August 2023. The producer had already secured a no objection certificate (NOC) for the expansion, which will raise the plant’s capacity by 73% to 1.49Mt/yr. The Meghalaya Monitor newspaper has reported that around 150 protestors from the local community disrupted the hearing held at Thangskai in Jaintia Hills District. The crowd reportedly demonstrated against the lack of prior engagement with the neighbourhood. It also took objection with the company’s failure to hire half of plant staff locally, as it had previously committed to do.
Meghalaya Cements has apologised and suspended two employees for their conduct during the hearing. India Today NE News has reported that the two employees used ‘unparliamentary’ language.
Meghalaya Cements said “The company once again apologises to the local people due to the behaviour of our employees. We assure you that the company is committed to promoting peace, harmony and a conducive environment for the employees and the villagers associated with our company, and also assure you that no such untoward incident will happen in the future.”