SC vacates stay on Lafarge's Meghalaya mines

Court satisfied with the revised MoEF clearances to mines


Deevakar Anand | July 6, 2011

The supreme court  on Wednesday vacated its February 5, 2010 order that restrained French cement manufacturer Lafarge from mining limestone in the forests of Meghalaya’s East Khasi hills for the company’s plant in Bangladesh.

The special forest bench headed by chief justice S H Kapadia, while allowing Lafarge’s plea said that a balance has to be drawn between sustainable development and environmental protection.

The bench showed its satisfaction on the revised environmental clearances given to Lafarge by the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) and said that the ministry had taken “due diligence” in conducting the exercise. MoEF had issued the revised clearance last April after the SC found that the mining project fell in forest land.

Lafarge Surma cement project at Chhatak in Bangladesh is a $255 million company and  dependent on limestone supply fom the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya. But the residents of Meghalaya's Shella village falling the mines area have been opposing the revised MoEF clearance to Lafarge.

The court directed the centre to appoint a national regulator to evaluate different projects and ensure the protection of the environment.



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