Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Supreme Court allows cement maker Lafarge to mine in Meghalaya

The Supreme Court today allowed French cement giant Lafarge to mine in Khasi hills of Meghalaya.

Lafarge's mining right in the forest of East Khasi hills in Meghalaya for its Bangladesh-based cement plant was challenged by local residents after an environmental clearance was given by the Ministry of Environment and Forest.

In February 2010, the Court had stopped Lafarge from carrying out limestone mining in Meghalaya for its cement plant, saying mining in the environmentally-sensitive zone could not be allowed. The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had then given revised environmental clearance to Lafarge in April 2010 on the directions of the Supreme Court.

That clearance was opposed by people of Shella village, who claimed to be in the radius of the mines.

Lafarge was defending its case on the basis of DFO's report given on June 30, 2000, stating that it was a waste land and there was no forest there.

The $255 million Lafarge Surma Cement project at Chhatak in Bangladesh is wholly dependent on limestone extracted from East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya. Limestone is transported from Meghalaya to Bangladesh by a 17 km-long conveyor belt.

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