Court seeks response from Indian govt on Lafarge's compliance | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 13, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 13, 2010

Court seeks response from Indian govt on Lafarge's compliance

The Indian Supreme Court yesterday sought a response from the federal government by April 26 on an expert committee's report that found cement maker Lafarge complying with environmental norms in mining limestone in Meghalaya.
The apex court also wanted a reply from the government on the conditions put forward by Attorney General GE Vahanvati for allowing the company to resume mining in the forests of the Indian state.
The expert committee had done an environment compliance report on the mining area and found that the company had complied with environmental norms.
A special forest bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan also sought the opinion of the environment ministry on the five conditions articulated by Vahanvati.
In court on Friday, Vahanvati spelt out in detail an action plan for rehabilitation of the mined area, afforestation and a development plan.
According to the proposal, Lafarge would have to bear the costs of the plans.
Lafarge has been asked to pay up a deposit of Rs 55 crore (Tk 85.89 crore) towards net present value (NPV) of the forestland to be used for welfare projects for the tribal people in the area.
During the proceedings yesterday, the attorney general requested the court to fast-track the matter which involved sensitive political and diplomatic issues.
"It may hurt the relationship with our neighbour, which is very friendly and co-operative," he said.
However, his remarks drew a retort from the bench, which said: "We only want compliance of law. Tell me how could you mine, without a proper compliance report?"
On February 5, the apex court stopped Lafarge from mining limestone in Meghalaya for its cement plant in Bangladesh saying mining in the eco-friendly cannot be allowed.
The 255-million dollar Lafarge Surma Cement project at Chhatak in Sunamganj is wholly dependent on limestone extracted from East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya.

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