Supreme Court reserves order in Lafarge case

Supreme Court reserves order in Lafarge case

The Supreme Court has reserved its order over the contentious issue of resumption of mining operations by French cement giant, Lafarge, in Meghalaya to supply the limestone to its $255-million cement plant in Bangladesh. A special bench comprising Chief Justice SH Kapadia, Justice Aftab Alam and Justice KS Radhakrishnan concluded the hearing in the case. It heard the arguments on behalf of the Centre, the company Lafarge and local residents, Shella Action Committee. The Bench has also given the liberty to all the parties involved in the case to file additional written submissions by Friday. The judgement of the Bench will decide the fate of LUMPL, involved in extraction of limestone in Meghalaya which was used for manufacturing cement at the LSC project in Bangladesh. It is noteworthy to mention that LSC has been fully dependent on the supply of limestone from LUMPL for its operations. The operations by LUMPL and LSC were challenged by an application filed by Shella Action Committee, a registered voluntary agency of tribal people, alleging that Lafarge had obtained environmental clearance by misrepresenting to the Government of India, the land for mining which is 116 acres of thick forest land, to be a 'wasteland and non-forest area consisting mainly of barren land, and rocks'. The court later restrained LUMPL from continuing limestone mining in the villages - Nongtrai and Shella in Meghalaya and supplying the same to the LSC project at Chhatak, Sunamganj, in Bangladesh. During the course of the hearing in the case, the court questioned Lafarge counsel and former attorney general Soli J Sorabjee. He said that the company was not aware of fact that project site falls within the forest area. To which the apex court firmly replied that the project was in the core of the tropical deciduous forest of that area.

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