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Pollution issues figure at Indo-Bangla bilateral meet
Staff Correspondent

Additional Chief Secretary of Meghalaya RV Suchiang, Deputy Commissioner of East Khasi Hills District, Matsiewdor War Nongbri and Ahmed Kabir, Deputy Commissioner of Jamalpur District of Bangladesh at an Indo-Bangla bilateral meet, in Shillong on Tuesday. – UB Photos
 SHILLONG, Aug 20 - Bangladesh today raised the issues of river pollution at the Indo-Bangla Deputy Commissioner-level meeting held here.

In the meeting, Bangladesh claimed that the Shari-Goyain river in Sylhet district that flows down from Myntdu river in Jaintia Hills is heavily polluted with coal mineral composition.

Speaking to The Assam Tribune, Sylhet Deputy Commissioner M Kazi Emdadul Islam said, the issue of river pollution was raised in the meeting and added he was hopeful that it would be resolved amicably.

“We discussed all issues and hope all the issues would be resolved by our counterpart,” the Sylhet DC said.

According to officials, the Shari-Goyain River is polluted to an extent that local villagers and residents at Goyain Ghat in Sylhet district have been collecting coal from the river that flows downstream from Myntdu river.

The officials also said that fishes in the River have been found dying due to the pollution. “The water in the River gets sticky and is causing health problem to the local villagers,” a Bangladesh official said.

Perturbed by the pollution the Sylhet Agriculture University has also conducted test of the River water and found presence of several minerals associated with coal like Chromium, Zinc, Nickel, Copper and Aluminum, Bangladeshi officials claimed.

Coal mining is banned in the Meghalaya since 2014 after a National Green Tribunal order, but illegal coal mining has continued. This fact was confirmed by the Supreme Court appointed Justice BP Katakey committee which found evidence of freshly mined coal in several areas of Jaintia Hills through satellite pictures even after the ban.

On the other hand team leader and Jamalpur district DC of Bangladesh, Ahmed Kabir said, the two nations share several common rivers.

Meanwhile, the Indian side raised the issue of militant camps in Bangladesh which the neighbouring side said these were non-existent.

“There are no militant (Indian) camp in Bangladesh. We have a strong position against all forms of terrorism and extremism and we stand committed to root out all forms of terrorism,” the Bangladesh team leader said.

Other issues like cattle smuggling, drug trafficking, flood control, information sharing, resolving land disputes at the border, opening of border haats, improving export-import were also discussed.

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