TURA, Oct 16 � Following growing pressure from the district and police administration in the Garo Hills, the stone quarries bordering the Assam-Meghalaya border have shut down. The shutdown has come as a relief to the villages lining the 30 km stretch between Garobadha and Hallidayganj, where about 250 quarries had made life miserable for the residents.
The destruction caused by the stone quarries came into prominence after a visit by Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma, who travelled to the flood-affected areas. Alarmed at the destruction caused by the illegal quarrying, the CM had asked for immediate action to be taken against the mine owners besides instructing for regulation of quarrying activities.
Most of the quarries lay in West and South West Garo Hills districts and Sec 144 CrPC has been imposed prohibiting stone quarrying in the region. The CM had also sought for regulation of quarrying activities after filing proper papers with the PWD for licenses. The mines are believed to be illegal and were supplying materials worth nearly Rs 200 crores to neighbouring Bangladesh.
A Nokma (village headman) of the region filed an FIR a few days ago after which Deputy Commissioner Pravin Bakshi, directed the police to take action against the mine owners. Following the order, quarry owners have shut shop as per the latest information available.
�This is really a good move as the destruction being caused by these quarries will have long-term affect on the topography of the region. Hopefully, the order will be total and regulation can happen. We are really happy at the step taken�, said SR Sangma, president of Centre for Environment Protection and Rural Development (CEPARD).